Jesus in Judges: Progression of Sin
Jesus is revealed in the Book of Judges as both Lawgiver and Judge.
Judges introduces many heroes of faith like Gideon, Samson, Deborah and more listed below. Flawed individuals answered God’s call to deliver the Israelites. Some of the most graphic, violent, and disturbing scenes in all Scripture are revealed in Judges. A clear pattern and cycle is revealed throughout the writings:
Judges 2:18-19 ‘Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their fathers, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.’
Judges 6:12-13 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, "The LORD is with you, mighty warrior." 13 "But sir," Gideon replied, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? NIV
Gideon is hiding like a coward and he is the least of his family. His family is the least of their clan. His clan is the least of their tribe. This gives me hope! We all feel like our faith is lacking and maybe we don’t measure up at times.
Judges 6:14 The LORD turned to him and said, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?” NIV
The only strength he had was a word from God. What is your assignment? Sin has almost no ability to touch you when you are focused on your assignment from God.
Judges 13:1 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD...
Samson’s first recorded words are, “I saw a woman.”
Judges 14:1-3 Samson came back (from Timnah) and told his father and mother, “I saw a woman, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now therefore, get her for me as a wife.” 3 Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among…all our people, that you go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she looks good to me.”
His parents tried to give him counsel but he refused. The absence of counsel produces an abundance of problems.
Judg 14:7 Then he went down and talked with the woman and he liked her. (NIV)
Samson saw her, she looked good, he talked to her and he liked her. This really is the typical progression of a surface relationship based on physical appearance and initial impressions.
Samson judged Israel for twenty years obviously struggling sexually entire time until we find him with his head in the lap of Delilah in Judges 16. Here he begins discussing the secret to his strength. He wouldn’t think of talking about his hair as he begins this conversation explaining that the use of new ropes would render him powerless. With his head in Delilah’s lap he then does the unthinkable. He mentions his hair. He doesn’t tell everything but now he’s talking about his hair. Finally he tells all and his ministry and his life end soon after.
Why did he ever start talking about his hair? Sin will make you stupid. Sin doesn’t make sense. Hebrews 3:13 speaks of the hardening of our hearts through the deceitfulness of sin. We simply don’t see, hear or thinking clearly or correctly when we allow sin to invade our hearts.
GP4RL: Invite someone into one specific area of your life that has been a struggle. Build a circle to break a cycle.
The pattern of sin, bondage and repentance that would last for nearly 350 years (around 1380 to 1050 BC). The following table shows how this was repeated over and over…
- Ehud (3:12-30), a lone hero from the tribe of Benjamin who delivers Israel from oppression from the east.
- Deborah (chs. 4 - 5), a woman from one of the Joseph tribes (Ephraim, west of the Jordan) who judges at a time when Israel is being overrun by a coalition of Canaanites under Sisera.
- Gideon and his son Abimelech (chs. 6 - 9), whose story forms the central account. In many ways Gideon is the ideal judge, evoking memory of Moses, while his son is the very antithesis of a responsible and faithful judge.
- Jephthah (10:6 -- 12:7), a social outcast from the other Joseph tribe (Manasseh, east of the Jordan) who judges at a time when Israel is being threatened by a coalition of powers under the king of Ammon.
- Samson (chs. 13 - 16), a lone hero from the tribe of Dan who delivers Israel from oppression from the west.
The pattern of behavior Israel demonstrates here is something we can probably all relate to in a variety of ways. The people rebel against God, judgment comes by foreign oppression, God raises up a deliverer—or judge, and the people repent turning back to God. When the people fell back into sin, the cycle started over again. If you look up the phrase for each of these portions of scripture where this process , you will notice that the same phrase is used to begin each section, and it is this, “Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD…”
As believers we know what it is to repent, be restored and repeat sinful behaviors regretting our decisions. We all can relate to learning the truths of God’s Word by instruction or by correction. It’s much more pleasant to learn by instruction than it is to learn by correction. As a child when we hear the statement, “Don’t touch this it’s hot” we are faced with a dilemma. Suddenly we are made keenly aware of something we have been told not to touch. The inner conflict is inevitable and the struggle is real. We either avoid touching it because we were told not to or we touch it and don’t want to touch it again because it hurts.
Conviction according to the world’s system says after you do the crime you are convicted to do the time. The God is our Father and he has a much better system. Conviction comes before the crime so we never have to face doing the time. God’s plan for all of us is that we not have to face the consequences of sin. Jesus suffered and died taking upon himself all of God’s wrath against our sin. The Holy Spirit is there to prompt us, remind us and encourage us to guard our hearts and protect our pathway. To follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit is to embrace the amazing and eternal wisdom of God.
Prov 27:12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
The Bible says you should not commit adultery. You can obey because it’s what the Bible says or you can suffer the consequences of making this mistake and drag a boatload of people through incredible pain learning it the hard way. To break a cycle we must build a circle. It is not good for man to be alone. God won’t bless or prosper anything he defines as “not good.” Our God-given need for others is more serious than we realize. We are created in the image of trinity God or community God.