The Book of Judges stands as the seventh book of the Scriptures. The message of this book sobers our hearts. All of us have the potential to fail as grievously as they failed. Sin is an ever present enemy to be hated and avoided at all costs. Compromising the Word of God or the walk of faith brings disastrous results.
God commands us to steer clear of all worldly entanglements and pursue Him. As we turn to Judges, we enter a book covering four hundred years of biblical history. Several other important periods span 400 years in the Scriptures. Remember these Four Hundred years segments?
- From Abraham’s birth to Joseph’s death is 400 years.
- From Joseph’s death to the Exodus is 400 years.
- From the Exodus to King Saul is 400 years.
- From King Saul to the Exile is is 400 years.
- From the prophet Malachi to John the Baptist is 400 years.
In the book of Judges we meet 12 judges, view 7 tragic cycles where Israel sinned, served, supplicated and were saved and 2 appendices portraying the deadly danger of compromise.
THE BOOK OF JUDGES IN OUTLINE FORM
I. WALKING IN OBEDIENT FAITH REAPS DELIGHTS [1:1-18] A life of blessing, victory and conquest is offered by God and taken by them.
II. FORSAKING GODLY OBEDIENCE REAPS DISASTERS [1:19-16:31] A life of defeats, bondage, servitude and captivity. We may ask how and why did they forsake godly obedience? What may we learn from their steps down?
A. They TOLERATED the enemies of God and did not drive them out! [1:19, 21, 27] They left remnants of the Canaanites lodged among them. Slowly the influence of sin pervaded their lives.That would be like Christians today holding on to cigarettes, alcohol, rock music and pornography.
B. They CYCLED downward in disobedience away from the Lord. Startingin 2:11 they sinned, in 2:14 God sold them to oppressors and they served,in 2:15 they cried to or supplicated the Lord and 2:16 He saved or delivered them. This pattern goes on for six more times. Each servitude is more fierce and harsh upon them.
C. They NEGLECTED pursuing the knowledge of God. [2:10] That would be a lack of prayer, Scripture reading and study, memorization and ministry. Do you read, pray, study, memorize and serve the Lord?
D. They MINGLED by intermarrying with the pagans [3:6]. They shared life with those who denied their Master and learned their evil ways. This would show up in our lives as modern dancing, bars, wild parties, exposure to indecent movies, compromising dating relationships, immodest clothing and a basic hunger for holy living.
E. They ABANDONED the exclusiveness of God by following other gods. [3:7]. This direction taken by Israel is known as syncretism, the blending together of various religions. The idols of the pagans were actually demons doing Satans bidding
1. Leviticus 17:7 And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations. (KJV)
2. Deuteronomy 32:17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. (KJV)
3. Corinthians 10:19-20 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. (KJV)
In our day it takes the form of ecumenical, interfaith ministry where doctrine is diluted or abandoned so no one is offended but God.
F. They HARDENED is what their consciences became. They had lived so long with defiled minds sin no longer pained them [17:6]. We see this in the growing insensitivity to sin all around us and even in the church.
G. They DEPARTED from their true King and Ruler, the Lord! [21:25]. Defeat always lies before those who do what is right in their own eyes.
III. REMAINING IN DISOBEDIENCE REAPS DESTRUCTION [17-21] Continuing in ungodliness results in a life of destruction, declension, defilement, darkness and despair. There are two horrible illustrations of this in the closing chapters.
A. Idolatry 17-18
B. Immorality 19-21
LEARNING FROM THE LIVES OF THE JUDGES
I. No matter how dark it may seem, God has His team! There are many in this book:
A. EHUD  only a worthless lefty but a tool in the hand of the Lord.
B. DEBORAK [4-5] a willing godly woman to challenge the spiritual indifference of the day.
C. GIDEON [6-8] a man humbly aware of his own inabilities.
D. SAMSON [13-16] a spiritual weakling unable to control his lusts. He was to rule Israel but was to weak to rule himself! Wanting both God and the world he fails most of life, but ends living by faith. What were his weaknesses? He never learned –
1. TO RESPECT HIS PARENTS [14:3-4].
2. TO FULFILL HIS DUTIES [14:8-9, 19-20].
3. TO CONTROL HIS ANGER [15:8] see Proverbs 14:29; 16:32; 19:11.
4. TO SEEK GOD [15:18; 16:28 are his only recorded prayers] he was motivated by self.
5. TO HUMBLE HIS PRIDE [15:16] he took the credit.
6. TO DENY HIS FLESH [16:1-4] his lust was never subdued. See Prov. 6:32.
7. TO CONTROL HIS TONGUE [16:17]
8. TO FEAR THE RESULTS OF SIN [Bob Wood]:
a) Blinds 1J2:11-20; Acts 8:28
b) Grinds Rom 7:11 Samson was going in circles serving God’s enemies. We either are producing food for God or Satan each day!
II. No matter how weak we are, God has great power! As illustrated by Gideon.
A. Called [6:11-12].
B. Confused [13-23] as a pathetic picture of unbelief hiding furtively and nervous.
C. Converted 
D. Consecrated [25-33]
E. Controlled  clothed with the Spirit as Colossians 3:12-17 Therefore, as [the] elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also [must do.] 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And [whatever] you do in word or deed, [do] all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. (NKJV)
The Old Testament was written to give us New Testament Christians an example to learn from.
Before we look at the book of Judges listen to what the NT says.
- SEPARATE FROM UNHOLINESS 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among
I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” (NKJV)
Listen to what God says:
a) Come out
c) Touch not
- SOW AND REAP: Galatians 6:6-10 Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. (NKJV)
- LOVE GOD NOT EARTH: 1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (NIV)
- WATCH OUT FOR THE SQUEEZE: Romans 12:2 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV)