Read Judges 1 -- 2
The Israelites were chosen by the One True God to reveal Him to the heathen nations and to glorify Him by being obedient to His Word. A new era in the history of the 12 tribes began soon after the death of Joshua. The first few verses of Judges give us a sense of high hope for the total conquest of the land as begun by Joshua: Judah . . . slew the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. . . . Judah took Gaza . . . Askelon . . . and Ekron (Judges 1:17-18). One by one, we read of Canaanite cities that fell to the Israelites -- Hebron, Debir, Zephath, then the Philistine cities of Gaza, Asklelon and Ekron (see 1:10-11,13,17-18). The Israelites who were living at the time of Joshua's death recognized that God was their Captain and King and that He had given them victory over the Canaanites. The children of Israel asked the Lord, saying, Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first? . . . And the Lord said, Judah shall go up: behold, I have delivered the land into his hand. . . . The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of the Lord, that He did for Israel (1:1-2; 2:7).
But the Lord's command to complete the conquest of Canaan was not fulfilled because of the people's compromise with the pagan inhabitants of the land. It is disappointing to read that Judah could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron (1:19). It was Judah who failed, since God had not changed. There is no hint that Judah ever attacked the armies with chariots of iron as Israel did when Joshua led the battle against the king of Hazor (Joshua 11:1-9).
It is more disappointing to read: There arose another generation after them, who did not know the Lord. . . . And they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods . . . And the Lord was hot against Israel, and . . . they could no longer stand before their enemies (2:10-12,14-15). God declared: Because . . . this people has transgressed My covenant . . . and have not harkened unto My voice: I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died (2:20-22).
The Israelites chose what they thought was more "humanitarian" and would create peaceful coexistence with the enemies of God. Perhaps they argued, as some would today: "How could a God of love destroy 'innocent' people? We need to 'live and let live,' to be tolerant and broad-minded, never offend anyone, and enjoy life with those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ and worship false gods." This, of course, is human reasoning. The concept of innocence disappears when we see sin for what it really is and false gods who are robbing God of love, and worship, and deceiving people so that they will be eternally lost. Instead of questioning the judgment of God, we should stand amazed at His mercy in dying on the cross to save all who turn to Him. As Jesus foretold, the destiny of all who reject Him as their Savior is eternal hell (John 14:6; Matthew 5:29-30; 10:28). Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:12,15).
Christ Revealed: By the Angel of the Lord (Judges 2:1,4). The Angel of the Lord is understood to be the Lord Jesus Himself preincarnate, for He speaks as God Himself (I made you . . . I sware . . . I said . . . I will).
Word Studies: 1:15 nether means lower; 1:23 descry means spy out, keep a watch; 2:5 Bochim means weeping.
Government Officials: Sen. Orrin Hatch (UT) and Rep. Pete Sessions (TX) · BPM Staff: Shelley Robertson · Pray for Jad Ghrayyeb, Voice of the Truth, editorial assistant for Arabic translation · Country: Bhutan (2 million) in the eastern Himalayas of central Asia · Major languages: Tibetan and Nepalese dialects · Public worship, evangelism, and proselytization are illegal · 70% Lamaistic Buddhist; 24% Hindu; 5% Muslim; .3% Protestant/Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Confess any sins in your life so that your prayers can be heard (Psalms 66:18-19).
Optional Reading: John 13
Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:10