From Koinonia House Archives March 2008
THE BANNED BOOK –
There is a book of the Bible that some have attempted to ban from public libraries because it was deemed unsuitable for children: the Book of Judges. It contains some graphic material that is so explicit as to shock many of its readers. And yet it contains some of the most colorful – yet enigmatic – characters in the entire Bible. Frankly, there are few stories anywhere that can compete for color and intrigue.
You’ll wince as you read how Ehud goes to visit the king in his summer palace and slides his dagger between the king’s fifth and sixth ribs so that the flesh closes around it and the knife cannot be withdrawn. You’ll cringe when Jael drives the tent stake through the skull of Sisera and pins him to the ground. You’ll bite your fingernails alongside Gideon as God introduces deep military cutbacks, reducing Israel’s army from 32,000 to 300 – then sends this vastly outnumbered miniature army into battle! Your heart will sink with mine when Jephthah’s daughter comes out to meet him on his return from battle, and he remembers his hasty vow to sacrifice the first person he meets to God – and then fulfills that dreadful vow. You’ll glory with Samson as he wreaks havoc among the Philistines, but wonder at his folly in allowing the Philistine temptress to worm from him the secret of his strength. You will also undoubtedly turn with revulsion from the story of the Benjamite perversion that marks perhaps the blackest chapter in Israel’s history.
Fans of historical romance, military history, soap operas, conspiracy theories, spy novels, swashbuckling adventure, or political intrigue will find it all here in the Book of Judges! But from a broader and deeper perspective, Judges is essentially the story of a deteriorating nation – and it serves as a sober warning against deterioration in our own nation, and in our own personal lives.
During this period in history Israel had no King, everyone did what was right in their own eyes, there was a neglect and disparagement of the Word of God, and Israel was in bondage to their various enemies. The people of Israel would fall into sin and idol worship; this would result in oppression by, and bondage to, their enemies. They would ultimately plea to God for help; He would raise up a deliverer; and, soon after their deliverance, they would again fall back into false worship, and cycle would repeat itself.
The world today is living in a period similar to the Book of Judges. People are “doing what is right in their own eyes.” Value relativism has replaced the rule of God’s law in our land. The Word of God is neglected – even in many of our churches. His Word is the subject of denigration and ridicule by pseudo-scholars and critics. And as a result, we too are in bondage rather than enjoying the liberty available in Christ.
The Book of Judges, spanning the time between the conquest of the Canaan and the establishment of the monarchy, is a colorful, instructive, and prophetically relevant book to study carefully. Click on the link below for a more detailed study of the book of Judges.
• Judges Verse-by-Verse Commentary – MP3 Download – Koinonia House
– From Koinonia House News Letter