Judges Chapter One (Part One)

Introduction: A key idea in the book of Judges is that God blesses obedience and punishes disobedience. Today, we hope to discuss the political background of the Judge ruled period.

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Read Judges 1:1-10

I. Background of the Period of the Judges. (1:1-3:6); A. The Political Background (1:1-36). The people asked the Lord about who should fight first (i.e., perhaps by lots). The Lord answers with Judah. The people of Judah and Simeon worked together. God provided a number of victories.

Applications –

- Working after Joshua. Notice in vs. 1 that Joshua died but the work went on. On one hand, we should love and respect the leaders whom God has sent into our lives.

On the other hand, we should love and respect God much more. The measure of how much we love and respect God is not how much we talk about the former leader, it is how well we continue to follow God’s will today.

Let’s live like we still love and respect God. Such living should be known for continued obedience. When we talk about how we used to obey God under a previous leader but don’t continue to obey God now, it sounds like we don’t really understand how to live by this application.

- Seeking, obtaining, and obeying God’s will. Notice in vss. 1-2 that the people sought, obtained, and followed divine directions for their lives and work.

First, in like manner, we should always seek divine directions for our lives. The Bible is the best thing that we have to know God and His will. God also sends leaders into our lives to help us know God’s will.

Second, seeking and obtaining does us little good, if we don’t obey. It is one thing to know that we should tithe, serve with our talents, and be a loving people. But it is another to actually do these things. Let’s work on seeking, obtaining, and obeying God’s will for our lives.

- Working together. Notice in vs. 3 that the people of Judah and Simeon worked together. There is great merit to the statement that “We can do better together.” This idea is true as individual disciples trying to live by God’s will.

Think about how being a wise steward of our attitude, health, and wealth is made easier, when we have other disciples supporting and encouraging us. This idea is true as local churches.

Think about how much more could be done in our communities, if 1/3 of the churches in the community could work together just one day every other month.

Let’s work on working together for the glory of God. God is not pleased when each part claims to be strong but fails to work with the other parts of the body.

- Human acknowledgment. Notice in vs. 4 that there is no mention of Simeon being upset about their names not being called. Unfortunately, there are too many people who have such low self-esteem or who have such a high need to be acknowledged by people that they will withhold their cooperation 

They will also cooperate with a bad attitude, or, in some cases, sabotage the work, if they don’t get the attention that they think they deserve. Let’s work on being more concerned with the work being done than with our names being called. When the work is done, there are enough blessings for everyone.

- God over the wicked. Notice in vss. 4, 8-10 that God can give His people the victory over their enemies. No matter how strong and numerous our enemies may seem, greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world.

On one hand, this should give us confidence, as we strive to do God’s will, in spite of the presence of enemies. On the other hand, we should make sure that we are on the right side of the equation.

In order to be those whom God fights for, we need to make sure that we are saved and striving to live by God’s will. Without Christ, we are those whom the Lord fights against. Let’s work on obeying God and trusting Him to handle our enemies.

- Reaping what we sow. Notice in vss. 6-7 that Adoni-Bezek reaped what he had sown. Just as he had cut off the thumbs and big toes of other kings (i.e., to humiliate, punish, keep them from using weapons, and to prevent them from running away), he now suffers the same fate.

In like manner, we need to be careful how we treat people. God has a way of seeing that how we treat others is how we are treated. Let’s work on treating people with love and respect. In so doing, we set ourselves up for reaping love and respect.

Conclusion: Let’s remember that God blesses obedience and punishes disobedience. God has so much for those who obey His will.

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