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Day 70 – Thru the Bible
Today we start Judges and continue in Psalms.
After Joshua’s death, the Story takes a dark turn. Here’s an overview of Judges.
Video – Read Scripture: Judges
How does this video reveal the purpose of this portion of the Story, and help you understand the bigger picture of what’s going on?
Judges 1 – From beginning to end, Judges establishes Israel’s need for godly saviors and the need for God to provide them. In light of Joshua’s death, the question arises: Who will lead Israel in battle against the Canaanites? Likewise, Judges ends with the refrain that there is no king in Israel (21:25).
At this early point in Judges, God does not provide an individual savior or king but appoints the tribe of Judah to take the lead.
How does the appointment of Judah look forward to the kingship of David and ultimately of David’s Greater Son, Jesus? Hint: Matthew 1:1–6.
Judah’s external success, however, conceals compromise. The ongoing refrain that Israel’s tribes did not drive out the inhabitants of the land increases throughout the chapter. Ultimately, this failure leads to the people of God living among Canaanites. Subsequently, Israel is negatively influenced, spiritually undermined, and militarily attacked. In the case of Dan, the tribe is actually pushed out of its inheritance.
Like our forefathers in the faith, how we are called to be a people separate from the world but dedicated to testifying about the Lord in the world? Hint: 1 Peter 2:9–10.
Just as all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), so all the tribes of Israel falter in the mission God gave them at this time in redemptive history. External success may lead us to trust in our own strength and leave us unprepared for the subtle compromises that lead to divided loyalty. Initial disobedience provides the soil in which further unfaithfulness takes root.
Judges 2 – The statement that Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord is further defined as abandoning the Lord and pursing other gods. This evaluation occurs at the introduction to each major judge in the book, preparing us for the later evaluation of various tribes and kings (in 1 and 2 Kings). It is the task of the former generation to tell the story of God’s work to later generations.
How does the Gospel encourage us to do the same? Hint: 1 Corinthians 15:3–4; 2 Timothy 2:1–2.
The Lord provides judges and saviors. These key verses equate Israel’s idolatry with spiritual whoredom. Throughout Judges, a persistent cycle of sin, subjugation, and supplication is met with the Lord’s unfailing provision of salvation. Mercy keeps following failure.
Astonishingly, God’s compassion for His people extends deeper than the failure of His people even when those failures are self-inflicted.
How does Jesus, the ultimate Judge and Savior, represent this grace in its ultimate form, interrupting the ongoing cycle of sin in our lives? Hint: Matthew 1:21.
There is no sin, no failure, and no act of unfaithfulness that is beyond the reach of Jesus’ redemptive love.
Having received from God such undeserved assurances of forgiveness and reconciliation, how are we now invited to extend His grace to others? Hint: 2 Corinthians 5:18–21.
Judges 3 – Othniel provides a illustration of the cycles of oppression and salvation. God’s people are not left to chance. It is the Lord who directs their corporate life. Just as Judah was the first tribe to lead (1:2), so the first judge is from Judah. The people are handed over to a foreign oppressor and then the oppressor is given into the hand of Caleb’s nephew, Othniel. This exchange of power happens because the Spirit of the Lord comes upon Othniel. The Spirit’s actions increase throughout the book as evidence and display of God’s power and faithfulness on behalf of a weak and errant people.
The apostle James states that “we all stumble in many ways” (James 3:2). It is tempting to think that difficulty and oppression in the believer’s life always follow disobedience as punishment. However, consider the desperate situation in Judges. The people abandon and forget God repeatedly and as a way of life, but He does not abandon them. While consequences of their sin are used to instruct, so too is unmerited mercy. God graciously rescues and patiently teaches His people that genuine life and lasting peace are found only in service to their true King.
Judah and Benjamin act first in the book (1:18–21), so the first judges arise from Judah (Othniel) and Benjamin (Ehud) and they are given the explicit title “deliverer”. This prepares us for the final conflict in the book, led by the tribe of Judah against Benjamin (20:18). From these tribes will arise the first monarchs of Israel and the conflict between Saul the Benjaminite and David the Judahite.
This trajectory reverberates into the New Testament as the great Davidic king, Jesus, from the tribe of Judah, overcomes (and redeems!) the persecutor Saul (Paul), the Benjaminite (Acts 9:3–9; Romans 11:1).
Rejoice that God uses us in his mission to the world. Judges constantly recounts unexpected persons and their actions delivering God’s people in unexpected ways. Ehud, a left-handed Benjaminite (“son of the right hand”) straps his sword to his right thigh.
Where do we see the “doubled-edged” sword of God’s “message” delivered in the New Testament? Hint: Hebrews 4:12.
Like the gospel, this message from Ehud delivers God’s people in a surprising way.
Psalm 70 – David’s cry for help in this psalm is virtually the same as Psalm 40:14–17, only with a greater sense of urgency. A portion of the earlier verses from Psalm 40 are attributed to Christ in Hebrews 10:5–7. Thus the Psalm ultimately draws the worshiper nearer to the God of grace not only because of insights into the suffering his Son would experience, but also because it shows how willing and able God is to help the desperate.
Though similarly translated, David’s first line here is more compact than in Psalm 40:14. Literally it reads, “God, to deliver me; Lord, to my help, hurry”—as if David is on the run.
The tension between “God is great!” and “I am poor and needy” is a realistic demonstration of contradicting desires even within believing souls. While the flesh wishes to flee hardship, the Spirit enables the believer to remain faithful.
Looking to future redemption produces perseverance, not escapism.
This is the Old Testament version of the New Testament cry, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20; 1 Corinthians 16:22). And the promise is that, in answer to that plea, the “grace of the Lord Jesus” will “be with all” (Revelation 22:21).
How can you relate to this Psalm?
How does this Psalm remind you of our assured future as a believers?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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