Set 6: The Judges

The book of Judges illustrates the repeat pattern of Israel after the death of Joshua:
1. Forget about God and what He has done, acting outside of His laws (sin)
2. Outside nations threaten or attack (oppression)
3. Cry out to God for help (repentance)
4. God once again rescues Israel (deliverance)
Each of the nations around Israel presented an opportunity to worship false Gods and engage in activities that were contrary to God's design. Israel eventually turns on itself because of heinous acts at the end of Judges. As they move forward, Samuel becomes the last judge as Israel moves into their time of having kings.

The first line of Ruth is "In the days when the judges ruled," but instead of the cycle of sin and repentance, Ruth's story is one of redemption. In the tumultuous time of the judges, God is still weaving His story of salvation. Ruth is the great-grandmother of King David and part of the lineage of Jesus.

Message from Sunday, October 15th

The Title of Judges: The Hebrew title is Shoftim. While today we associate "judge" with a person overseeing a courtroom, in Hebrew the word has a greater association with those that rule over the land, such as a governor or military leader, or as someone providing divine deliverance.
Women of Jesus' Genealogy: Matthew Chapter 1 lists five women in the lineage of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba (called "the wife of Uriah"), and Mary. Each of these women has a significant narrative in the Bible.
Sanctuary Cities: Kedesh is featured prominently in the account of Deborah. Kedesh was one of the 6 sanctuary cities (or cities of refuge), that is a place designated by God where people who have unintentionally committed murder could go and be exempt from blood revenge. The other 5 cities were: Shechem, Hebron, Golan, Ramoth, and Bosor.
Important Locations: 
Midian - located in western Saudi Arabia, southern Jordan, southern Israel, and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula
Kedesh - in northern Galilee along the Israel-Syria border
Moab - east of the Dead Sea, this region included at the time of Ruth the important trade route "the King's Highway," which connected Arabia and Egypt
Bethlehem - yes, THAT Bethlehem! 10 km south of Jerusalem in the West Bank (currently controlled by Palestine)

  1. What did you find most interesting or thought provoking?
  2. What did you learn about the character of God?
  3. Some judges are ones we admire and others are surprisingly divisive. Reflect on how God is using a variety of people today as leaders in various aspects of your own life.
  4. How is God working through you to lead others by faith?

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - sometimes we are challenged by what we read in Scripture. We are challenged in how we think and view both Biblical and modern situations. We are challenged internally as we wrestle with how we are like - or unlike - various people that have come before us. We pray that you would be in our hearts to guide our thoughts through these types of readings. Use these times to test and strengthen our faith in You. Forgive us, renew us, and lead us individually and as a church. Amen.

You can engage these readings and devotional times individually or as a group. If you want to send an email to Family of Christ with your thoughts and questions, you are invited to click the link below.