Here Comes the Judge
What would America do if we were sent a “judge?”
Judges 10:11-12 – The Lord answered: In the past when you came crying to me for help, I rescued you. At one time or another I’ve rescued you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites.
In the Old Testament, when Joshua died, the Jewish people were independent and in their own land. It was also a time where there was not a single strong leader in the land at all. This led to a leadership vacuum.
Joshua did some amazing work right before he died. He took over almost all of the land, divided it among the tribes, and then disbanded the army that was assembled to conquer the land. For lack of a better term, it was the United States of Judaism. There were 12 tribes with only a loose connection to each other.
During this time, there was no central government. The only thing holding them together was the Tabernacle. But Jews were deciding not to go to Tabernacle anymore. They were performing their own sacrifices on their own private altars.
Over the next 300 years, there would be 15 Judges that would come along. Since there was no central government, enemies would sneak, and sometimes walk in brazenly, to infiltrate the tribes. Over the 3 centuries, all of the men over those ages would have to step up to protect their families and friends. At the end of the day, a man just feels beaten down when non-stop enemies are coming at you.
While they were able to destroy the armies to the east and the west, the armies to the north had allied with the strongest military leader of the day, Sisera, and created multiple new technologies (chariots and steel weapons) that the Jews simply could not defeat.
Judges 4:4 – Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time.
Deborah, the 4th Judge, would rally an army from one of the tribes and defeat Sisera and his amazing new technology. While he escaped, he was eventually cornered, seduced, and killed by the woman who seduced him when she drove a nail through his temple. After Deborah defeated the northern army completely, they found a short 40-year peace.
The next 8 Judges ruled over Israel for 120 years. Some were good and some were not-so-good. After 12 Judges, it was time for Samson to step up. By this time, the Philistine army to the west had started to get active.
Samson was interesting. He was not one who would rally the troops as other Judges had done. Samson was a Lone Ranger kind of guy. He was also very unorthodox in his approach to leading. He married Philistine women. One of them, Delilah, eventually led to the capture of Samson. On the day they were to make a public spectacle of him, he garnered enough strength to bring the entire area, filled with 10,000 Philistines, down around him and those who were there killing everyone.
1 Samuel 3:13 – For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them.
The second to last Judge, Eli, made the mistake of losing the Ark of the Covenant during a battle. The Philistines, who seem to have caused a lot of problems over the 300 years, stole the Ark and tried to incorporate it into their pagan worship. What they found is that the Ark caused a lot of problems to occur. The pagan idols would collapse. The towns they put it in would break out with plague. Finally, with all of the Philistine cities refusing to take the Ark, they sent it back to Israel.
The final Judge, Samuel, was raised by Eli and turned out to be one of history’s greatest prophets and equal to Moses in many ways.
Not many Christians speak about or preach on the Book of Judges. It is really a book on the military leaders of Israel. But it is more than a military journal. The book explains the 300 years between Joshua and 1 Samuel and it also sets up the book of Ruth. More importantly, it sets the stage for the Jews to be shown as simply human, as we have seen throughout the entirety of Scripture.
They did what was right in their own eyes. This means they disregarded what God had declared to be right according to the Law.
Judges 17:6 –In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Modern day America can easily be seen as a country that is dire need of a Judge, although war has changed since the days of the Old Testament Judges. Our country is not, nor has been for some time, under the control of a strong leader. The country is doing what is right in our own eyes. And the unified states are only loosely related.
But what would happen if a Judge appeared?
Typically, Judges led up to a time when the people would come closer to God. The 300 years the the Jewish people were under the leadership of the Judges led up to Samuel, easily one of the most amazing men since Moses.
But to get to that point, for Israel’s heart to be softened to the point that they accepted the rule of the final Judge, it took a lot of struggle, demoralizing times, and pain.
I think about my own life.
Many times I find myself calling for Jesus’ return. I find myself asking God to please make this the final breath for our current world.
But then I wonder what life would look like for me and if I would truly be grateful for that to happen.
I am imagining all of the bad things that will happen leading up to Christ’s return, things that are already occurring. But then I wonder how it could get any worse. There will be no peace left on the earth. There will be significant inflation. There will be significant death from famine and beasts. There will be large earthquakes and stars will fall from the sky. Grasses will be burned, fish will die, the water will be poisoned, the smoke will get so thick that the sky will vanish from sight, plagues, and plenty more will happen before the church get raptured.
My life looks pretty good right now.
Yea, I don’t make as much money as I used to, but I have a lot more time with family. Yea, life is still crazy, but I am still alive and have people around me who love me.
So, yes, I would love to have Christ return. I would love to see this world get the judgment it deserves and finally live a life of true peace.
But, in all honesty…
I don’t know if I am ready for all of that suffering for me and my family.
So today I am going to simply live a life that Christ has given me. A new life, born out of the destruction I caused in my old life and given to me because God loves me. I will continue to pray that I can stay faithful to God, to those I love, and to my church. And I will work in my secular job and minister to the people God has given to me to minister to.
And eventually I will make it to heaven.
Psalm 34:1-3 – I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.