JUDGES — Dipping Our Toes into the Book of Judges

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JUDGES - Dip your toes into the book of Judes. A Super-Short Summary and Less-Than-Super-Short Summary (Welcome to the Bible series) via www.JeanWilund.com

JUDGES ~ Book #7

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” ~ Judges 21:25

Super-Short Summary:

In Judges, God reveals the stark reality that there’s no depth of evil to which mankind won’t sink unless God’s hand restrains us. It’s only because of His inexplicable love, grace, and mercy that we can receive salvation through Jesus.


Less-Than-Super-Short Summary: 

The book of Judges is exactly that: a book about the 12 judges of Israel and several despicable guys.

Judges opens with a dash of fleeting hope as Israel looked to God for guidance.

“Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” (Judges 1:1).

God chose Judah – the tribe through which Jesus would come – to lead them into battle.

Charge!

Like Jesus conquering sin and death, Israel defeated their enemy. But not all of them.

They failed to complete the conquest. (Jesus didn’t fail His conquest.)

They failed because they refused to obey God.

“But you have not obeyed MeTherefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you” (Judges 2:2-3).

Israel’s unfaithfulness thrust them into a vicious cycle that ramped up to a horrifying crescendo of pure evil.

There’s a reason most of the stories from the book of Judges doesn’t show up in children’s books. Not even Samson’s full story makes it past the cutting room.

Thankfully, God’s promises and power stand strong regardless of mankind’s worst moral failures and outright rebellion.

The Gospel in Judges

God used 12 judges to save Israel and give us a picture of Jesus as our Deliverer.

Unlike Christ, however, these judges weren’t perfect.

Judges shows Israel’s desperate need for a godly king to rule them and points to the perfect King, Jesus Christ.

Ring Around the Rosie, We All Fall Down

Early in Judges, Israel displays the vicious cycle they repeated – their ring around the wretched rosie until they all fell down:

        1. Israel chooses evil (Judges 3:7).

2. God lets them fall into the hands of their enemy (Judges 3:8).

3. Israel cries out to God (Judges 3:9).

4. God raises up a deliverer – a judge (Judges 3:9-10).

5. Israel enjoys peace (Judges 3:11).

What God reveals about the nature of man through Judges is downright depressing:

We are so much worse than we imagine, and we can’t save ourselves.

What He reveals about Himself and Jesus is straight up encouraging:

God is more forgiving than we can imagine. He sent His Son Jesus to be our perfect Rescuer and our Salvation.

A Glimpse of the 12 Judges:


(Click on the red names below to jump to a more detailed summary of each judge.)

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Judge #1 ~ Othniel

(Judges 3:7-11)

Israel ran after other gods. After life turned hard at the hands of their enemy, they cried out to God.

Enter Othniel, the first judge God appointed to rescue Israel.

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Judge #2 ~ Ehud 

(Judges 3:12-30)

The left-handed judge Ehud delivered Israel from the rotund king of Moab using a sleight-of-hand trick with a dagger, a sneaky escape, and some embarrassed guards.

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Judge #3 ~ Shamgar 

(Judges 3:31)

Shamgar saved Israel and killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad (a long stick with a metal tip used to control oxen).

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Judge #4 ~ Deborah 

(Judges 4 – 5)

Deborah (and a brave woman named Jael with a tent peg – yikes) saved Israel when Barak refused to fight the Canaanites without her.

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Judge #5 ~ Gideon 

(Judges 6 – 8)

God used the meek fleece-laying Gideon to save Israel from Midian (after whittling his army of 32,000 men down to 300) and give us a picture of the humanity of Jesus.

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Three Years of Trouble

(Judges 9)

Between Gideon and the next judge came three years of trouble that included the death of 70 of his sons. (I’m still trying to wrap my brain around having 70 sons.)

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Judges #6 & #7 ~ Tola & Jair 

(Judges 10)

Tola judged Israel for 23 years. And then he died.

Jair was a wealthy man who judged Israel 22 years. And then he died.

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Judges #8 ~ Jephthah 

(Judges 11-12)

Foolish Jephthah. He freed Israel from the Ammonites but made a vow that broke his father-heart.

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Judges #9, #10, and #11 ~ Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon 

(Judges 12:8-15)

Ibzan judged Israel seven years. And then he died.

Elon judged Israel ten years. And then he died.

Abdon judged Israel eight years. And then – surprise, surprise – he died.

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Judge #12 ~ Samson 

(Judges 13-16)

Samson, the most famous of the 12 judges, was also Israel’s final judge.

He delivered Israel from their enemies and suffered great personal loss because of his ungodly choices.

Nevertheless, he gave us some poignant pictures of Jesus.

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Israel Descended into Unspeakable Evil

The book of Judges ends with two stories that exposed how mankind can sink to the lowest of lows when we turn our backs on God, and He leaves us to ourselves.

Micah, the Levite, and Some Evil Men from Dan 

(Judges 17-18)

This first of the final two stories reveals that, apart from Christ, every man has a price. That price can be brutal because people can be.

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A Levite, His Concubine, and the Horror in Gibeah 

(Judges 19-21)

The final and most barbaric story reveals there’s no depth of evil to which man will not sink unless the Lord intervenes and restrains. (Warning: This story includes rape and body parts in the mail.)

Final Words For Today

The book of Judges closes with somber words and a final reminder of Israel’s (and our) deep need a godly king. (You’d almost think Judge’s final sentence was written about us today.)

“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25.

By your grace, Lord, open our eyes to see our need for You. Give us faith to believe and to follow you as our perfect King.

Amen.

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More Detailed Summaries of The Judges:

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Judge #1 ~ Othniel 

(Judges 3:7-11)

Israel ran after false gods so God showed His righteous anger over sin and got their attention by letting the king of Mesopotamia defeat them.

It worked.

Israel cried out to God, and He raised up Othniel to set them free and to serve as their judge.

They enjoyed rest for 40 years.

And then Othniel died.

Return to Short Summary of Othniel


 

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Judge #2 ~ Ehud

(Judges 3:12-30)

Israel ran back to evil, so God allowed the King Moab to defeat Israel.

God then raised up the left-handed judge Ehud to deliver Israel from the rotund king of Moab.

Ehud used a sleight-of-hand trick with a dagger and a sneaky escape.

When the king’s guards checked on him and found his door locked, they assumed he was unavailable because he was attending to “nature’s call.”

They were wrong. He was dead.

Ehud then led Israel against Moab and defeated them.

They enjoyed peace for 80 years. And then he died.

Return to Short Summary of Ehud


 

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Judge #3 ~ Shamgar

(Judges 3:31)

Shamgar saved Israel and killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad (a long stick with a metal tip used to control oxen).

That’s all I have on Shamgar. God only gave us one sentence on him.

Return to Short Summary of Shamgar


 

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Judge #4 ~ Deborah

(Judges 4 & 5)

Israel leaped back into evil so God sold them into the hand of the king of Canaan.

Then God raised up Deborah, who led Barak (and Israel) in battle because he refused to go without her. Perhaps he wasn’t willing to take the calling for himself since she was God’s chosen judge.

Whatever compelled him to follow Deborah rather than take the lead, we know he did it by faith since he made it into the Hebrews Hall of Faith: Hebrews 11:32-34.

After Israel routed Canaan’s army, their commander hopped off his iron chariot and ran away. But he got stuck in a tent (yes, literally) by Jael, a brave Israelite woman holding a tent peg and a hammer.

Israel enjoyed rest for 40 years under this godliest of judges. She continually pointed Israel to God.

But then she died.

Return to Short Summary of Deborah


 

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Judge #5 ~ Gideon

(Judges 6 – 8)

Israel nosedived back into evil and worshipped idols, so God let them fall into the king of Midian’s hands.

The angel of the Lord visited fearful Gideon – the least of the least of Israel – and called him to lead Israel in battle. Through God’s power, Gideon was to deliver Israel.

Gideon gives us a beautiful picture of Jesus’s humanity. He came in the meek form of man. In weakness, Jesus delivered us through the cross. In divine power, He gives life (2 Corinthians 13:4).

Jesus was meek, but He wasn’t timid like Gideon. Analogies are rarely, if ever, perfect.

Gideon faced obstacles bigger than himself as an array of armies converged on Israel.

Gideon called Israelites to battle, but then he ran to talk to God. He wanted to confirm that God really was going to give them into Israel’s hands.

Gideon used a wool fleece to determine God’s will. Twice. (Judges 6:36-40)

God confirmed His promise to give Israel’s enemies into Gideon’s hands.

God whittled Gideon’s army of 32,00 men down to a meager 300 to ensure Israel understood that they couldn’t save themselves. He was giving them the victory.

Likewise, we can’t earn our salvation or make our own way to heaven. Christ alone is our salvation and the one way to the Father.

Gideon and his army enjoyed a rousing victory.

Sadly, Gideon let it inflate his ego.

Nevertheless, Israel enjoyed peace for 40 years.

And then he died. But not before he had 70+ sons.

Return to Short Summary of Gideon


 

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Three Years of Trouble

(Judges 9)

Abimelech, one of Gideon’s sons attempted to slaughter the rest of the 70 sons to become king.

One managed to escape, which then led to Abimelech’s downfall but not before he tramped over the people with much evil and treachery.

In the midst of his last heinous crime, a woman dropped a stone on his head, and his self-proclaimed rule of three years ended.

In the meantime, Israel had deepened their bent toward evil.

Return to Short Summary of Three Years of Trouble


 

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Judges #6 & #7 ~ Tola & Jair

(Judges 10)

Unfortunately, there’s no more info on these two judges.

Return to Short Summary of Tola & Jair


 

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Judge #8 ~ Jephthah

(Judges 11-12)

Jephthah was a mighty warrior from Gilead and the son of a prostitute. His half-brothers hated him. So he ran away.

As soon as the Ammonites rose up against Israel, Gilead called their warrior back home to save them.

God gave Jephthah the victory, but Jephthah made a stupid vow to sacrifice the first thing that walked out the door of his home upon his return from victory.

His daughter walked out to congratulate him.

Jephthah judged Israel only six years, and then he died.

Return to Short Summary of Jephthah


 

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Judges #9, #10, and #11 ~ Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon

(Judges 12:8-15)

Ibzan had 30 sons and 30 daughters. He judged Israel seven years, and then he died.

Elon judged Israel ten years, and then he died.

Abdon had 40 sons and 30 grandsons who rode on 70 donkeys. Wealthy. He judged Israel eight years, and then – surprise, surprise – he died.

That’s all I have on them.

Return to Short Summary of Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon


 

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Samson ~ Judge #12

(Judges 13-16)

The most famous of the 12 judges was also Israel’s final judge.

The popular children’s story paints the picture that evil Delilah tricked God’s innocent Samson into giving her the secret to his supernatural strength, but his hair grew back and allowed him one final display of his strength.

There’s truth in the children’s account. (Delilah was evil and God did give Samson a final victory.)

But there’s also plenty of missing pieces to the story, and at times the truth appears foggy.

Samson’s Lovely Locks

For instance, Samson’s lovely locks of hair weren’t really the secret to his strength. God was.

His luscious locks never held magical power. God was always the one in control.

Before Samson was born, God told his parents Samson was to be a Nazarite, dedicated to God from the womb. (https://www.gotquestions.org/Nazirite-vow.html)

Being a Nazarite vow came with many rules. One rule was that his hair should never be cut.

Jesus Sighting: The angel of the Lord visited Samson’s parents to prepare them for Samson’s birth (Judges 13:8-25). This was an appearance of Jesus before He came down in flesh as a baby born in a manger.

After Samson’s last girlfriend, Delilah, cut his hair, God removed the super-strength He’d given Samson.

And fortunately, the young children’s books also leave out the part where the Philistines then gouged out Samson’s eyes (Judges 16:20). Yikes.

Godly Samson? Not!

Also, contrary to the godly man we see in picture books, Samson wasn’t innocent.

Not only did he let himself be seduced by Delilah so that she cut his hair, but he broke at least two other Nazarite rules: no drinking wine, and no touching the dead.

John the Baptist was also a Nazarite from birth (Luke 1:13-17). He was faithful.

While Samson did great things for Israel, he was far from godly. He broke many of God’s rules through his wild, women-chasing years. And yet God still used him.

God isn’t limited in who or what He can use for His purposes. Sometimes He chooses to use even ungodly men like Samson. (That’s good news for us far-from-perfect ones.)

Samson judged Israel 20 years. And then he died a brutal death, but not before he saved Israel by stretching out his arms and dying.

When Samson stretched out his arms, he pushed down the two pillars that held up the building and killed more of his enemy than he had in all his previous escapades.

And although Samson was by no means a perfect model of Jesus, Samson’s death gave us a picture of Christ stretching out His arms on the cross and dying to save us from our enemies – sin, Satan, and death.

Return to Short Summary of Samson


 

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Micah, the Levite, and Some Evil Men from Dan

The first of the final stories (Judges 17-18) reveals that, apart from Christ, every man has a price. The price can be brutal. It this story, brutal is an understatement.

Judges 17 opens with a man named Micah, who stole silver from his mom. After he returned the silver, his mom paid a silversmith to fashion an idol out of it so they could worship it.

Meanwhile, a Levite – one of God’s chosen priests – had gone out in search of a better life. Apparently being chosen by God to serve in His tabernacle and cared for by God wasn’t enough.

Micah offered the Levite ten shekels and a shirt to become his personal priest.

But then the tribe of Dan came along and increased his pay. They stole Micah’s silver idol and his priest. But at least they left him his life and his mom, which is more than they did for the quiet town of Laish.

The men of Dan slaughtered the unsuspecting people of Laish and set their city on fire.

Afterward, they set up Micah’s silver idol, and the Levite and his sons “served God” alongside it.

In the New Testament, we see Jesus’ disciple Judas had a price, too: 30 pieces of silver for the Son of God (Matthew 26:15).

But Jesus’ apostle Paul considered his life of no value for the opportunity to testify of Christ (Acts 20:24).

Praise God that Jesus was willing to pay the price for our sins so we don’t have to. He offered up His own life to God for the salvation of all who will believe (John 3:16, Philippians 2:8).

Return to Short Summary of Micah, the Levite, and Some Evil Men from Dan


 

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A Levite, His Concubine, and the Horror in Gibeah

The most barbaric story of Judges involves a wretched Levite, his concubine, and some evil men in the city of Gibeah.

It’s so hideous I can’t bring myself to write the details. But you can read the story for yourself: Judges 19.

The horror reveals there’s no depth of evil to which man will not sink unless the Lord intervenes and restrains them.

After the men of Gibeah committed their heinous crime, which the evil Levite and his host allowed, Israel finally looked to God again.

God sent Israel out against Gibeah, but Gibeah destroyed 22,000 men of Israel.

Israel wept before God and sought His help again.

This time Gibeah destroyed 18,000 Israelites.

Israel finally understood how far they had turned away from God.

This time they wept before God, fasted and prayed, and offered burnt sacrifices to Him for their sin as well as peace offerings of thankfulness to Him.

God said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will give them into your hand” (Judges 20:28).

With Israel finally humbled before God and depending on His power alone, God gave them the victory.

Return to Short Summary of A Levite, His Concubine, and the Horror in Gibeah


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Related Posts

If you’re new to the Welcome to the Bible Series, catch up on the other posts by clicking this link:

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JOSHUA ~ Dipping Our Toes into the Book of Joshua

JOSHUA - Dip your toes into the book of Joshua. A Super-Short Summary and Less-Than-Super-Short Summary (Welcome to the Bible series) via www.JeanWilund.com

JOSHUA ~ Book #6

“Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass.” ~ Joshua 21:45

SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY:

In Joshua, God gives Israel the long-awaited Promised Land through a spectacular series of battles and miracles. Joshua reveals that salvation is a gift from God by His grace, not as a result of a person’s worthiness or efforts.


LESS-THAN-SUPER-SHORT SUMMARY: 

A Little Background

Ever since Genesis 15, God’s promise of a land for His chosen people dangled in some distant future like an engagement with no wedding date. In the book of Joshua, we finally see God fulfill the promise. Israel moved into the Promised Land.

Unfortunately, the move wasn’t as simple as hiring Two Men and a Truck to transfer their belongings out of their tents and into their new homes.

Fortunately, however, God was their Mover — and their salvation.

Israel Gets a New Leader

When the book of Joshua opens, God is speaking to Joshua, Israel’s new leader.

“Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan [River], you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel” (Joshua 1:2 ESV).

With great encouragement from God to be strong and courageous because He was with Joshua and would never leave him, Joshua assumed command.

FUN FACT: It’s not hard to see how Joshua gives us a picture of our Savior Jesus since the name Joshua means Yahweh is salvation. (Yahweh is God’s Hebrew name.)

ANOTHER FUN FACT: Jesus spoke Aramaic. His Aramaic name is Yeshu’a, which comes from the Hebrew name Joshua, which means God is salvation.

Rahab’s Red Thread

Sending spies into the walled city of Jericho was Joshua’s first act as leader.

The two spies snuck into Jericho where they met Rahab, a woman of the night.

Rahab hid the spies from the king and told them, “I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you” (Joshua 2:9 NASB).

She begged the spies to save her and her family because she believed in the Israelites’ God.

The spies told her to hang a red cord out of her window in the city’s wall, bring all her family into her home, and stay there when they come. They escaped out her window and reported back to Joshua.

Rahab and the red cord (or as I like to call it, the red thread) make a stunning picture of Jesus’ salvation offered to sinners by grace through faith, not personal merit or works.

Through the Jordan and Into the Land

Ready to take the Promised Land, Joshua marched Israel right through the middle of the Jordan River and into the land.

At the very moment the priest stepped into the flood-stage waters of the Jordan carrying the Ark of the Covenant, God heaped up the water on either side and made a straight path through the river.

The Ark of the Covenant was a holy box made of gold that contained the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, Aaron’s blooming rod, and manna. The ark’s cover was the Mercy Seat where God forgave their sin and His presence dwelled.

Joshua Meets the Commander of the LORD’s Army

In the Promised Land, Joshua met the Commander of the Lord’s Army—the Lord Jesus Himself (Joshua 5:13-15).

Most Bible scholars believe the Commander was Jesus because God’s angels never accept worship. But this Commander did. Worship belongs to the Lord alone.

Plus, the Commander told Joshua to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. This reminds us of when God spoke to Moses from within the burning bush and told Moses to take off his shoes because he was standing on holy ground (Exodus 3:4-5).

The Fall of Jericho—But Not Rahab

After Joshua talked with the Commander, the dramatic events of the fall of Jericho unfolded (Joshua 6).

Israel marched around Jericho once a day for six days.

On the seventh day, they blew their trumpets and marched around the city seven times.

And the walls came tumbling down – every one of them – except Rahab’s tower.

God saved Rahab and her family and continued the beautiful picture of Jesus’ salvation by faith, not works.

From Stunning Victory to Shocking Defeat

After this stunning victory, Israel suffered a shocking defeat at the city of Ai (Joshua 7:1-9).

It was Achan’s fault (Joshua 7:10-26).

Achan stole items from Jericho that God had commanded they dedicate to destruction – gold, silver, and fancy clothing. They weren’t to conquer the Promised Land to build their wealth.

But Jericho’s shiny stuff dazzled Achan. He stole it and buried it in the ground in his tent when no one was looking. Except for God. Duh.

Israel and Achan learned a tragic lesson.

After they dealt with the sin, they dealt with Ai and God gave them the victory in dramatic fashion (Joshua 8). Imagine that.

Sneaky Gibeon

Joshua renewed God’s great covenant with Israel, and then they blew it. Again. Israel fell for a clever scheme set by men from Gibeon (Joshua 9).

The Gibeonites didn’t want Israel to destroy them, so they pretended to come from a far away country—a country outside the Promised Land. (Remember, God said they were to extend mercy to nations outside the Promised Land.)

They asked Joshua to make a treaty of peace with them. Their sneaky plan worked because Joshua failed to check with God.

Taking the Land

At this point, the conquest of the Promised Land marched forward in full force and many battles took place.

The sun stood still (Joshua 10:1-15), five enemy kings got trapped in a cave (Joshua 10:16-28), and Joshua and his army defeated the giants Israel had so feared before (Joshua 11:21-22).

Despite the many victories Israel enjoyed, they didn’t conquer all the land.

God promised to give them all the land, but they didn’t trust Him and take it all. God’s promises didn’t fail. Israel did.

And just as God warned, the remaining nations proved to be a stumbling block to Israel. Over time they drew Israel into the worship of false gods and other terrible sins.

Dividing the Land and A Civil War?

The book of Joshua then records Joshua dividing the conquered land among the tribes of Israel, including pastureland for the Levite priests.

As soon as the eastern tribes set out to take possession of their allotted land, trouble arose when they stopped along the way to build an altar.

The western tribes mistakenly believed the eastern tribes were making an idol for themselves rather than worship at the true altar (Joshua 22).

But cool heads and wise words averted a war.

Side Note: If the eastern tribes had chosen to settle inside the borders of the Promised Land rather than outside, none of this would have happened. (Kind of like when we Christians think we can live with one toe in “the world” outside of godly standards and think no harm could come of it. Hmmmm.)

Joshua’s Final Words

Before the end of the book of Joshua and the end of his life, Joshua presented a final charge to Israel’s leaders:

“Therefore, be very strong to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, turning aside from it neither to the right hand nor to the left, that you may not mix with these nations remaining among you or make mention of the names of their gods or swear by them or serve them or bow down to them, but you shall cling to the LORD your God just as you have done to this day” (Joshua 23:6-8).

(That was one long sentence – 83 words – and an important charge.)

Joshua then renewed God’s covenant with Israel once again and commanded them to choose whom they would serve:

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-16

About 25 years had passed since Israel first crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land. It was now time for Joshua to join the Lord with his forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being 110 years old” (Joshua 24:29).

Stay tuned for what comes next: The book of Judges, where every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Oh boy.




DEUTERONOMY ~ Dipping Our Toes into the Book of Deuteronomy

DEUTERONOMY - Dip your toes into the book of Deuteronomy. A Super-Short Summary and Less-Than-Super-Short Summary (Welcome to the Bible series) via www.JeanWilund.com

Book #5 ~ DEUTERONOMY

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV


Super Short Summary:

In Deuteronomy, God prepares Israel for entering the Promised Land and, through Moses’ final words, gives a picture of what the Christian life should look like.

Less Than Super Short Summary:

The curtain opens on Deuteronomy at the end of Moses’ life and the beginning of Israel’s new life in the Promised Land, the land of Canaan.

In Exodus, God had brought Israel out of slavery to Egypt, which gave us a picture of Jesus setting sinners free from slavery to sin.

In Numbers, Israel wandered the wilderness because of their unbelief. Even though God had promised to give them a land and His blessings to enjoy, they’d refused to believe Him.

Through Israel’s unbelief, God gave us a picture of Christians who’ve trusted Jesus to save them from sin and give them eternal life but refuse to trust Him for today’s challenges. Their fears and selfish pride keep them in a barren, wilderness-type life.

They never enjoy the full freedom Jesus promises to Christians who walk by His Spirit rather than by human effort. Bondage to fear and unbelief (often expressed by the less convicting word “doubt”) send them stumbling into sin and discouragement.

God provided for Israel in the wilderness, but He didn’t design the wilderness to be their permanent residence.

He brought them (us) out of slavery to Egypt (sin) for the purpose of bringing them into the Promised Land. There they could enjoy the fruit of His blessings (victorious Christian living).

All who refused to trust Him suffered loss. And Christians do, too. They will be saved from an eternity in hell separated from God, but they’ll miss out on God’s blessings in this life – the blessings of unshakable peace, joy in Christ, and much more.

Moses’ Final Words

In Numbers, God had told Moses he wouldn’t enter the Promised Land with the Israelites because he didn’t honor the Lord before the Israelites at the life-giving rock (Numbers 20:10-13).

In Deuteronomy, Moses was now 120 years old, but his eyesight hadn’t weakened, nor had his strength given out (Deuteronomy 34:7). Regardless, Moses’ apprentice Joshua would lead Israel into the Promised Land, not Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1-3).

But first, Moses had some final words for Israel – words they must always remember and never forget.

(The Hebrew name for Deuteronomy, Debarim, means the words.)

Always Remember, Never Forget

Moses began by reviewing Israel’s past since the time they’d left Mt. Sinai 40 years earlier. He reminded them of their rebellion and the painful consequences.

The rebels, however, weren’t Moses’ audience. Their children were. Their defiant parents had died.

But God’s promises lived on. Faithful to His Word, God was going to give the Promised Land to the children.

Before they entered, Moses made sure they remembered, through vivid recollections, how easily and often their parents had made empty promises to trust and obey God.

He then commanded this generation to remain faithful and obedient to God rather than to idols – worthless scraps of metal or wood, or anything they’d place over God.

He reminded them of God’s rules, regulations, and commandments (Deuteronomy 5), which were designed to lead them into right living and allow them to dwell safely in God’s presence.

The Shema

God then gave a command that later became a daily prayer for Israelites known as the Shema.

The word shema means to hear and listen in such a way as to elicit a response.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. ~ Deuteronomy 6:4-5 ESV

The Shema is still prayed today by orthodox Jews.

Jesus quoted it when asked what was the greatest commandment.

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” ~ Mark 12:29-30 ESV

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’” ~ Mark 12:29-30 ESV

Warfare

To further prepare Israel for entering the Promised Land, Moses taught Israel how they must handle warfare.

They were to treat the people of the Promised Land (Canaan) differently than those outside it. The hearts of the people in Canaan overflowed with sin, making them ripe for judgment. God commanded they be devoted to destruction (Deuteronomy 9:4).

But those outside the Promised Land were to be shown mercy.

It can be hard to understand how a loving God could order entire cities to be devoted to destruction until you understand the depth of those nation’s sin and the mercy they could’ve enjoyed had they bowed to the Lord rather than raising their swords against Israel.

God is a righteous judge. The wonder isn’t how God could order Canaan’s destruction, but rather how He could have offered anyone extravagant grace and mercy.

Guard Your Heart

Toward the end of Deuteronomy, Moses addressed the condition of the Israelites’ hearts and alerted them to the many ways they’d be tempted to sin.

And he warned them that God would test them.

God would allow prophecies made by false prophets to come to pass in order to expose the true condition of the Israelites’ hearts. They needed to see for themselves when they saw their signs and wonders that they’d run after the false prophets’ idols rather than stay true to the one true God.

Everyone would see they didn’t want a true King. They wanted a Burger King. (Have it your way! Have it your way!

Blessing and Curses, Life or Death

Moses detailed the blessings God would pour out on them if they obeyed Him.

Astounding blessings! Surely Israel would faithfully obey so they could enjoy the many undeserved blessings the rest of their lives. (They didn’t!)

Moses also detailed the curses God would reign down on them if they disobeyed.

Terrifying curses! Certainly, they’d never risk forfeiting the great blessings by disobeying God and thus suffering the horrific curses. (They did!)

Regrettably, we’re not much different – if different at all. Too often we’d rather be our own god than serve the one true God.

Moses stood before Israel and commanded they choose. Life or death. Blessings or curses. (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

Life and blessings were the obvious choices, but – Spoiler Alert – Israel often chose shocking sin over life-giving blessings. (Just wait until we get to the book of Judges! Oh my!)

God predicted Israel’s rebellion. He gave Moses a song to teach Israel which would stand as a witness against them that they’d been warned (Deuteronomy 32).

Moses then pronounced a blessing on each tribe of Israel (Deuteronomy 33). God’s grace in action.

Farewell, Moses

As the book of Deuteronomy closes we see Moses, the leader and prophet God called His friend, walking up to the top of Mount Pisgah. There the Lord showed him the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died (Deuteronomy 34:5). He entered his rest and reward.

Hello, Joshua

Israel’s leadership passed to Joshua, who may have penned the final verses in Deuteronomy and this beautiful testimony to Moses:

“And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and wonders that the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:10-12).

 

 

 




Well, I Reckon

Well, I Reckon! Whether you’re sailing in the bright light of day or through the thick pall of darkness, reckon yourself dead to sin, and God will bring you through. Romans 6:11 (JeanWilund.com)

If you use the word reckon, you may be from the South.

Well, I reckon I’ll win this time. (Bubba from South Georgia)

Or you may be the apostle Paul.

Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Paul in Romans 6:11 NKJV).

Or, maybe you’re a ship’s captain.

The captain sailed through the dark night by dead reckoning. . . Read More at InspireAFire.com

 




How Long Does It Take to Read the Old and New Testaments? (Infographics)

How Long Does it Take To Read the Old and New Testaments? via www.JeanWilund.com


Know the Word! Know the Word! Know the Word!

I probably say that every time I teach.

Of course, we can’t know the Word unless we read the Word.

Knowing the Word is a lifetime journey — an exciting journey — but how long does it take to simply read the Word?

I stumbled upon a couple of infographics created by Reasonable Theology. Each graphic gives us an idea of how long it takes to read every book of the Bible.

How Long It Takes to Read Each Book in the Old Testament (Infographic)


How Long It Takes to Read Each Book in the New Testament (Infographic)

Enjoy!

You may be surprised how long it doesn't take to read the Bible. #Biblestudy #God #Jesus Click To Tweet

How Long Does it Take To Read the Old and New Testaments? via www.JeanWilund.com