A New Sermon Series: Judges
This Sunday we begin a new sermon series. More specifically, we begin another journey through a book of Scripture. Previously, we were in the book of Hebrews and now we are going back both in time and in pages to the book of Judges.
The book of Judges covers history from early 14th century BC until the middle of the 11 century BC. Covering various events during Israel's history between the death of Joshua and the arrival of King Saul. During that time, fourteen people by name are recorded as being raised up by God as "judges" or more precisely, as deliverers or saviors. It was a time of spiritual compromise and covenantal unfaithfulness by God's people. But it was also a time of covenantal faithfulness and loving-kindness by God for His people.
(Can you guess which judge is depicted in the image below?)
Why, out of the 66 books of Scripture, would I pick Judges to preach on for the next 4-5 months?
Well, last time we were in the Old Testament, we went through 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. Our time spent there was lengthy and very rewarding. Many enjoyed the historical narratives coming alive with relevance and the truths that pointed us to Christ. The lessons of ancient Israel are still useful for the church today (Rom 15:4) and of course all of God's Word, Genesis to Revelation, is profitable for us (2 Tim 3:16-17).
It is good to go back in time and hear God speak and to remember that these events of long ago, are not mere stories, as if they are fables or fictional lessons made up to teach morality. These accounts involved real men and women, in relationship with our God, who is holy and just. He knew them by name as He knows us by name. These accounts speak of our brothers and sisters in the faith that one day we will greet in eternity.
But why Judges, and not Genesis? Or Numbers? One, Judges is closely related to 1 Samuel which most of the church is familiar with already. Two, Judges is a book that most people know some of the stories, but not necessarily the point. Three, I simply have a desire to preach it more than the other books. Through prayer and thought I am trusting this is the leading of the Spirit. Fourth, Judges is profoundly relevant for the church today. I won't give away the whole answer as to why, you'll have to listen to the messages for that. In short though, in Judges, Israel has been given the promised land after being delievered from their bondage in Egypt. Then having been told by God to conquer and to destroy the Canaanites of the land, they refused to do so. Instead, they compromised and they themselves became "Canaanized". The church today in America, rather than being faithful and marked by God's Word, after having been delivered from the bondage of sin, has become Americanized. Where the man of God and the unbelieving citizen of America is often indistinguishable. If you're wondering in what ways, again, you'll have to listen to the messages.
As we begin this new journey through Judges, please keep me in prayer as I seek to diligently discern the Word of God and seek to proclaim the mysteries of Christ as revealed by God. While there is a joy in trying to make accounts from ancient history come alive, there is a labor of work to be done to rightly understand and apply the accounts to our lives today. But it is certainly a work of God, and for all of us who have been given the Spirit, such work, as difficult as it may be at times, is a privilege to undertake. For the fruit is the knowledge of the Divine, of the Everlasting, and when trusted leads to eternal life.