Judges 1:1-2:4 “Last Time On…”

So, we are going to get back to our study of the Book of Judges today. we are going to be reading Judges 1:1-2:4. This first chapter is really setting up the narrative for the rest of the book. In fact there are really two chapters of setup for this book. Chapter one gives the background of what happened from the time of Joshua’s death until the judges start. It starts with Joshua’s death and tells the story of taking over the promised land. Chapter 2, starting in verse 5 starts again with Joshua’s death and tells gives the summary of what is going to happen in the rest of the book. So, if the first chapter is like the beginning of a TV show where they say “last time on…” and the second chapter is like at the end of a show earn they say, “next time on…” 

Now, before we read the text for today, I want to read a few verses in Joshua that will help us frame what we are about to read next. 

If you are already at Judges 1, just turn back maybe 2 pages to Joshua 23, we re going to look at verses 1-13. That is the backdrop that we need to read the first chapter of Judges. So let’s read it and see what God has for us in it. Now, I am going to do this a little differently, I am going to explain stuff as we go through reading this, so I am going to pray first. 


Now, you may have noted as we went through that text that things got off to a pretty good start. The people of God had some success in the early stages they were putting cities to the sword, and taking the land that was allotted to them, but little by little, you start to see small failures and incomplete victories. They could take the high ground, but couldn’t take the plains because they lacked iron chariots, or they took Jerusalem, but they weren’t able to fully take the city because the Jebusites remained in the city with the people of Benjamin. Then towards the end of this chapter you see how the different tribes were unsuccessful in totally taking the territory that was given to them by God. 

Now, the challenge with reading and interpreting narrative passages of scripture is that they are not prescriptive, they are descriptive, they aren’t telling us what to do in life, they are describing what took place at a particular time in redemptive history. Often they will describe instructions given to the people of God at that time, but those instructions are not for us to take literally for ourselves now, for instance, when God says to take these cities and destroy them, we are not to go, “well, the Bible says it, we need to do that!” Those are for that group of people in that particular time. What I try to do when looking at these stories is to look for aspects of God’s eternal character, and the nature of his instructions and how he deals with the people he is giving instructions to. 

So, in this story, with the backdrop of Joshua 23 we know that God is a god who works on behalf of His people, and He is a god who fights for His people. We know that He commands full obedience from His people, and we see that He will keep his promises. 

So what do we learn from this first chapter of Judges? We are going look at 3 basic points of this story: 1. Incomplete obedience, is disobedience. 2. Trust in God should never depend on circumstance. 3. God is faithful to His promise.

  1. Incomplete obedience is disobedience: The Israelites partially obeyed, but did not complete the task. They made peace with the inhabitants, instead of driving them out. They did not break down their altars.
  2. Trust in God should never depend on circumstance: Gods Faithfulness does not rely on technology (iron Chariots), or practicality(making them slaves).
  3. God Will fulfill His promises despite our unfaithfulness: 2:1. 

You will Never fully obey all of God’s commands, therefore you are in disobedience: That is the predicament we all find ourselves in. We are like the Israelites who partially obey, but fail to completely obey, Therefore we are deserving of the wrath of God against sin, like the Israelites in this book. Lets look at Galatians 3:10 for a second…This is cited from Dueteronomy 27:26. So if you are to understand that God gives instructions to us for how to live and conduct ourselves, and He considers partial obedience disobedience, and even says “curse be everyone who does not abide by ALL the things written in the book of the law” That should give you a showing revelation. You are disobedient. unless you have perfectly obeyed all of God’s commands. if so, you are set. Except that Romans 3:9-20

This is the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: God knows that you will never fulfill all the requirements of the Law, in fact, he gave the law for the purpose of revealing our sin to us. 

So that He might be faithful to keep His promise through Jesus Christ. 

Lets finish reading the text from Galatians. SO, now your trust in Christ doesn’t have to depend on your circumstances of being in disobedience, but on the work of Jesus for you.

In that Way, God fulfills His promise to Abraham, Israel, and to You. Your standing before Go doesn’t depend on your obedience, but on God’s faithfulness and the finished work of Jesus on your behalf. 

Your response to this, if you are feeling the conviction of the Holy Spirit is to react as the Israelites did after encountering the Angel of the Lord, to repent, and turn to Christ!

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