The God of Judges

31 Aug

In my time of studying God’s Word, I have begun reading the book of Judges.  And among many things that stand out to me, the one that is glaringly obvious is the way in which God is presented in the book.  O! How refreshing this book is and how refreshing is the God who is revealed to us in its pages:

God of Judgment 

Does this surprise you?  In a book called Judges, we find a God who judges.  It would be easy for us to gloss over this, but the fact is, the God of the universe is a God of judgment.  Yet, He does not judge as we do.  We are quick to be self-centered in our judgments, declaring others and their ways to be wrong in light of their relation to and impact upon us.  However, we are also prone to be man-centered in our judgments.  By this, I mean we often take God out of the picture and judge things as though He does not exist.  We put ourselves in charge of the courtroom and base decisions solely upon reason and human wisdom.  In doing so, we silence God’s voice as revealed to us in Scripture.  No, God judges righteously.  I think of the words of Jeremiah: “Righteous are you, O Lord. (Jer. 12:1)”  He, as the sovereign over all, the creator and sustainer, judges rightly, in holiness and absolutely.

In Judges, we see this play out as the people of Israel disobey again and again, and God calls them out on their disobedience.  Then, He judges by allowing the people to be challenged, ruled over and even oppressed by rival peoples.  God has called humanity to love Him and to love others, and yet, because of our sinful nature, we ignore these callings, heaping wrath upon our heads and calling down God’s judgment upon us.

God of Mercy and Grace

However, the God revealed to us in Judges is also a God of mercy and grace.  Despite the fact that Israel continually disobeys, worships the gods of the nations around them, and falls into the hands of oppressive kings and commanders, God administers justice and delivers the people.  He raises up “judges” who rightly govern the people and lead them in fulfilling their calling to be a “holy nation.”  We see God’s heart to rescue His people from injustice and oppression, pain and suffering for no other reason than His love for them and the glory of His name.  Like a broken record, the words “The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord gave them into the hands of ______” are repeated over and over.  Yet, they are always followed by these gracious words: “The Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them and the land had rest.”

A Foretaste of the Gospel

And while these words show us God’s working in the Old Testament, we see them exhibited most clearly in the Gospel.  The Gospel presents the final deliverer, Jesus Christ, who though perfect and without sin, endured the just punishment we deserved, so that we might be redeemed and enabled to enjoy and glorify God through our obedience to His Word.  The Gospel reveals to us the mercy and grace of God.  He gives us the gifts of life, reconciliation, adoption, justification, sanctification and glorification, when we deserve nothing more than His wrath. We have been given every spiritual blessing in Christ, seated with Him in the heavenly places and have the hope of eternal life in His Kingdom!

Judges has proved to be a refreshing encounter with the awesome God of the universe, His interaction with the world and His people, and a reminder of the Gospel that I have received!

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