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Bible Narratives Devotional, Week 13: Judges

This entry is part 13 of 16 in the series

"Bible Narratives Devotional"

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Week 13: Judges

Weekly memory verse:

Judges 3:9 – “But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them.”

Weekly hymn:

He Who Would Valiant Be (free download)

Weekly catechism:

What is the greatest commandment?
The greatest commandment is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and mind.

Day 61: God Raises Up Judges

Reading: Judges 1:1–3:21

Notes

Chapter 1, Verse 6. Cut off. Cutting off a king’s thumbs and big toes would have made him impotent in battle.

Chapter 2, Verse 1. Angel of the Lord. This is one of three preincarnate appearances of Christ in the book of Judges.

Verse 16. Judges. Judges were tribal leaders who God used to govern various portions of the nation.

Chapter 3, Verse 10. The Spirit of the Lord. This is a special anointing of the Spirit of God upon a chosen leader to accomplish specific purposes. It is temporary and not necessarily given only to truly regenerate individuals.

Summary

The people of Israel failed to obey God’s commands and even began to worship the false gods of the land because the former generation failed to pass on knowledge of God and his works to their children. This is why it is so important that parents regularly teach their children about God and what he has done. Yet even in this condition, God answered his people when they cried out for help, sending them deliverers.

READ
Who Are the Gods in Psalm 82?

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did the people forget God and worship false idols?
  2. Is God’s use of people to accomplish his purposes necessarily dependent upon whether they are personally righteous?
  3. Why does God answer his people’s cries for help, even when they have sinned against him?

Day 62: Deborah and Barak

Reading: Judges 4:1–5:31

Notes

Chapter 4, Verse 4. Deborah. God raised up Deborah because of Barak’s failure to lead.

Chapter 5, Verse 10. White Donkeys. The unusual color of this animal made them valuable possessions for only those were who rich and influential.

Summary

This account, like many of the stories in Judges, is an example of God accomplishing his purposes and protecting his people even through individuals and circumstances that are contrary to his will and ways. God is sovereign, and he will do what he has promised even if no one obeys him.

Discussion Questions

  1. What did Deborah’s leadership reveal about Barak’s lack of character and courage?
  2. Was Jael’s action right and moral?
  3. Why did God choose to bless something that was contrary to his moral will?

Day 63: The Call of Gideon

Reading: Judges 6:1–40

Notes

Verse 11. Angel. Once again, this “angel” is identified as Yahweh himself (see vv. 14, 16, 23, 25, 27).

Verse 37. Fleece. Gideon’s requests for signs revealed his weak faith.

Summary

Gideon’s question to the Lord reveals the mystery of God’s providence in Judges. The oppression and sin of the people of seemed to indicate that God has forsaken his people, and yet God was always there, fulfilling his promises and accomplishing his will, even when the people did not recognize it.

READ
Luther on the centrality of the Word in worship

Discussion Questions

  1. When bad things happen, does this mean God is not present?
  2. How should we respond when bad things happen to us?
  3. Should we ask God for signs to prove that he will do what he has promised?

Day 64: Gideon’s 300 Men

Reading: Judges 7:1–8:35

Notes

Chapter 7, Verse 5. Laps the water. There is no reason given for why this was used to distinguish the groups; it was just a way for God to divide the people.

Verse 18. The sword of the Lord and of Gideon. This revealed a trust in the power of God in combination with duty to obey him as he had commanded.

Verse 19. Set the watch. About 10 p.m.

Summary

God is sovereign, but he often uses people to accomplish his will. Divine sovereignty and human responsibility go hand in hand. Yet when God uses us, we should never assume that we are the ones who have actually accomplished the victory. To boast in what good we have supposedly done is to ignore God’s hand behind it all.

Discussion Questions

  1. Who won the battle against the Midianites, Gideon or God?
  2. If we accomplish something great for the Lord, who actually deserves the credit?
  3. When we boast for what we have done for God, what does that reveal about us?

Day 65: Abimelech

Reading: Judges 9:1–57

Notes

Verse 5. Killed his brothers. This eliminated competition for rulership.

Verse 45. Sowed it with salt. This polluted the soil and water and made it impossible to grow anything.

READ
An Unexpected Exit in Mark 14:51–52

Summary

This story once again reveals the sinfulness of God’s people. They did not deserve God’s protection or care; none of their conquests, victories, and eventual flourishing was a result of their righteousness or worthiness. It was only God’s covenant with them and his faithfulness that grew them into a mighty, prosperous nation.

Discussion Questions

  1. Is there any indication in this passage that the people loved or desired to serve God?
  2. Why did God continue to protect his people, even in the midst of their sinful lifestyles?
  3. Why is God faithful to his promises?
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Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children.

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