Ok. I’ve read Judges before so, I know that there is this constant pattern: the Israelites do wicked things and suffer at the hands of enemies, God is angry, but says He will help them, they repent and serve God for a few minutes and then God gives them a judge (a prophet, really) who helps them out. Lather, rinse, repeat.
But, perhaps there is more to this book than just looking at the well worn path of the Israelites. Perhaps there is something in this for me, more, even, than the lesson of obedience (though obedience is ALWAYS a good lesson).
So here they are, in the new land that God had promised hundreds of years before. They should be so glad to be out of the desert and out of slavery. They should be enjoying the freedom and worshiping the One who freed them. They should be; however, instead, they have married their daughters to men who worshiped more gods than the Egyptians, believed that the dead haunted the living and sacrificed children to the god Molech. More specifically to this region, they worshiped Baal and Asherah (a woman who is a consort of divinity and whose likeness, later, because of the mixing of religions is placed in the temple!)
Because of all of this, they were captured by Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim. As they found themselves back in bondage for 8 years, they called out the Lord.
He sent them a savior from the tribe of Judah. He sent Othniel whose name means “God’s lion.” And just what does this Lion from the tribe of Judah do? He rallies Israel. He reminds her who she is and then, takes the oppressors down. He sets the captures free.
After he died, evil again was allowed in the city. The children of Israel were again captured and in bondage, this time to Eglon for 14 years. They cried out to the Lord and He sent them Ehud, the southpaw from the tribe of Benjamin. This courageous man killed the king with his own hand and procured victory for the Isrealites. See what can happen when God is on your side? One man (okay, two because of his friend with the cattle prod) saved a nation!
When Ehud died…”Play it, Sam, if she can take it, so can I.”
Judges 5: 7 Warriors became fat and sloppy, no fight left in them. Then you, Deborah, rose up; you got up, a mother in Israel.
She’s my favorite. One of my favorite woman in all of the Word. This is a lady with some chutzpah! Deborah’s section of Judges is a beautiful song that sings of the women in Israel who could not longer stand by watch the Lord’s chosen ones become slaves anymore.
What have we learned from this action-packed section of scripture? One thing, may just be that it doesn’ take an army to make a difference, or even a king or a senator. It simply takes the obedient passion of one or two righteous people to do what must be done to save a nation, perhaps even the course of history. How are we handling this greatness today? How are we passionately obeying this day?