Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do as [their fathers]. When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways.
Chapter 2, particularly verses 16-19, is a summary of the remainder of the book. The Israelites act unfaithfully toward God, bad things happen to the Israelites, God raises up a judge, the judge delivers the Israelites, everything is fine while the judge lives, the judge dies, the Israelites act unfaithfully toward God, and so on and so forth. As I read these verses this morning, a new idea (new to me, anyway) occurred to me: Do the judges all tell me something about Jesus Christ?
The word “judge” in these verses is from the same root as the word Abraham uses when he pleads with God to spare Lot from the destruction of Sodom and calls God the Judge of all the Earth (Genesis 18:25). So the idea might not be too far-fetched. And Jesus is called the Judge in the New Testament. There are certain parallels to note.
One, the LORD raised up judges who delivered them. God also raised up Jesus — both on His cross and from the dead — to deliver us.
Two, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. As with the judges in this book, the deliverance effected by Christ is not dependent on us, but on Christ and is effective all the days of Christ, Who lives forever.
Three, the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. God’s compassion is also roused for us when we are enslaved to sin. Our sin oppresses and afflicts us and God wants us to live in freedom in Him.
As I work my way through this book, I will be looking for parallels between each of the judges and Jesus Christ.
Which brings me to the issue of application. Unlike the Israelites, who were delivered by a judge who eventually died, I am delivered by a Judge Who lives forever. He continues living and delivering me until I reach a place where I am completely free. Like the Israelites, the trouble I find myself in is often trouble of my own making. It is often the case that my own faithlessness gets me in trouble and God must step in and rescue me. Like the Israelites, I need to call out to God for deliverance when I realize that I have gotten myself in trouble, because He is faithful even if I am not.
Thank You, Father, that my state can arouse Your pity and invite Your deliverance. Thank You for Your faithfulness despite my lack of it. Please keep me aware that You are always ready to deliver me if only I will turn and call to You. Please keep me mindful that my Judge is still alive.