“And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. And it came to pass, when the judge was dead, that they returned, and corrupted themselves more than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they ceased not from their own doings, nor from their stubborn way.”
Today’s verse passage is an inspired summary describing the state of Israel between the time of Joshua’s conquests and the establishment of Israel’s monarchy. This awful 400-year period (Acts 13:20) may be described in one word: cycles. Israel would enjoy peace and prosperity under the rule of God’s appointed judge. When he died, however, the nation would slip back into gross sin and rebellion. God would then judge the nation through Gentile aggression, conquest, and subjugation. When the people repented and cried to the LORD for help, He raised up a judge who liberated them. This ushered in yet another period of peace and prosperity, which ended with the judge’s death and so on. Even in this dismal phase of Israel’s history, we can catch glimpses of the Savior and His redemptive work. God’s chosen method for chastening His people was Gentile aggression and suppression, which thing Christ the Lord endured (Matthew 20:19). The first judge was Othniel, whose name means “God’s lion,” was from Judah (1 Chronicles 4:1-13). The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, empowering him to liberate God’s people (Judges 3:9). Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), anointed by the Spirit to set people free (Luke 4:17-19). Judge Shamgar used an ox goad (a long spear-like implement) to slay 600 Philistines (Judges 3:31). Jael used a tent peg (essentially a nail) to kill Sisera (Judges 4:17-21). Judge Gideon chastened his enemies with thorns (Judges 8:7, 16). In bearing the world’s sin debt, our Lord Jesus endured all three assaults on his body (Matthew 27:29; John 19:34; 20:25). Judge Samson was betrayed by the men of Judah and handed over to Gentiles, just as Jesus was betrayed and handed over to Gentiles (Judges 15, cf Matthew 20:18-19). Nevertheless, Samson fought and defeated his enemies, suffering great thirst on the battlefield (Judges 15:18). Of course this reminds us of Jesus, who defeated Satan and the forces of darkness at the cross (Colossians 2:14-15; Hebrews 2:14), suffering great thirst in the process (John 19:28). The Scriptures are filled with references to people and events that somehow portray Jesus Christ and His redemptive work. Searching the Scriptures daily, guided by the Spirit Who authored this divine record of God’s dear Son, is surely one of the most joyful, rewarding, and encouraging of all our endeavors.
God bless you as you consult and contemplate God’s precious word today,