What were judges almost four thousand years ago? They were not the robed figures that inhabit the courts today. In fact, they were more military leaders than judges. The way in which they were judges was that they led God’s people and carried out God’s instructions.

In addition, judges were not permanent fixtures on “the bench” as they sometimes are today. One of God’s judges would be lifted up by God as a short-time leader of the people, to get them back on the right path.

The reason that they wandered was the same as ours–times were good, crops were plentiful, so who needs God.

Let’s look at what is called the Cycle of the Judges:  1) Times are good, so who needs God. We’re doing fine on our own. 2) a powerful neighboring nation arises and puts Israel under pressure to pay tribute (blackmail) in order to remain at peace. 3) The people remember God and beg for His help. 4) God helps by raising up a person as a military leader with character and a focus on God. 5) Through that leader God defeats Israel’s enemies and restores her prominence.

Here’s the sad part–this cycle reoccured about six times in a little over three hundred years! Talk about patience on the part of God!

One judge was pretty much a selfish failure who God continued to use anyway. Another was a woman. All were imperfect, but used by God for His glory and His people’s rescue.

This was the time just before God allowed the people to have an earthly King.

sue wilson

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