This year, I was allowed to present a lesson before the Dalraida church of Christ concerning the Judges: Why Judges?. The lesson was written and presented specifically for Vacation Bible School: Heroes of the Faith. The second area covered in the lesson was Where did God get the idea to use Judges to lead His people?.
Why Judges?: Where did God get the idea to use Judges to lead His people?
He had basically already been doing it this way for a while:
- Patriarchs – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all spoken to and handed laws and promises directly from God. He used these chosen men to carry out His will in very much the same fashion he had the Judges carry out His will. Even Noah and Adam were specially used for His purpose, so using Judges is in close keeping with the way God interfaced with humanity.
- Moses – Moses was specially called as the patriarchs had been. However, the law was imparted to Moses, introducing a written code by which His people were to operate. This written law stood as an addendum to the inherited laws of the patriarchs. Gal 3:18-19 “For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but God gave it to Abraham by a promise. Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.” The law stood as an agreement or covenant between God and His people so that they could continue in right standing with Him.
- Joshua – Joshua, while a transitional figure after Moses’ death, was effectively “Moses 2.0”. He carried the law and mission of Moses forward and gave Israel its first push into the Promised Land. He was chosen by God through Moses and was present for many important events and changes in Israelite culture, history, and religion.
God knew what would happen if He gave them a king:
- Sin – What happened when Israel got their first king? Saul almost immediately messed up by disobeying God. David was called a man after God’s own heart, but even he was an adulterer and murderer. Solomon was led away by his wives. Then, things got REALLY bad…
- Selfishness – 1 Sam 8:11-18 “He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”
- Worldliness – 1 Sam 8:19-20 “But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
- He would no longer be king. 1 Sam 8:5-7 “and said to him, ‘Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.’ But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, ‘Give us a king to judge us.’ And Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.’”
God knew exactly how Israel should be led, but He, as most parents do, allowed them the freedom to make a choice for themselves. God still allows us to choose for ourselves who we will serve as Joshua did in Joshua 24:15 “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”