- God saves and preserves His covenant people.
- His people sin against Him.
- God judges His people for their sin.
- His people cry out for help.
- God gives mercy and restores His people.
- Repeat process starting at Point #1.
This is what many scholars have called “The Judges Cycle.” This is exactly the pattern we see repeated throughout the period of history covered by the Book of Judges.
Early on, we read, “And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals” (2:11). “So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel and he gave them over to plunderers who plundered them” (2:14). “Then the Lord raised up judges who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them” (2:16). “For the Lord was moved by pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods . . . they did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways” (2:18-19).
So right away, we learn some massive truths:
- God is good and merciful beyond compare. “All day long I have held out My hands to a disobedient and contrary people” (Romans 10:21).
- People are sinful to the core and unable by their own volition to break sinful habits. “Everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34).
- God judges sin. “For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:30).
- Our rescue from the bondage of sin relies solely upon God’s mercy. “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:4).
- The deliverance of human judges is insufficient; We need a better Judge / Deliverer! “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:12-14).
There is a whole lot of gospel in the Book of Judges! God give us eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts to love and obey the gospel truth being so obviously fore-shadowed in Judges.
But the question that should haunt us as we read the first few chapters of Judges is “How did all this happen in the first place? What brought about this crazy Judges Cycle anyway?”
Stay tuned . . .