Judges Bible Study

Judges ~ Lesson 4

Previous Lessons: 1, 2, 3,

Read Judges 3:7-31

Questions to Consider

1. Go back to lesson 3 (link above) and review your answer to the first part of question 5, Israel’s pattern of sin and repentance in 2:16-23. We will be examining the periods of the three judges in today’s passage against that pattern.

Review also your answer to the second part of question 5, every individual vs. the vast majority of Israel. If there were not a remnant of faithful Israelites in each era, where did faithful men like Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar come from? Are you part of the faithful remnant of genuinely regenerated Believers in the visible church today? What is it like to remain faithful to Christ and His Word when professing Christians around you are mired in sin, false doctrine, or idolatry? Consider what it must have been like for the remnant of faithful Israelites to stay true to the Lord while surrounded by “God’s people” who were immersed in sin, false doctrine, and idolatry.

2. As you study today, use your Bible’s maps to identify as many of the locations mentioned in the text as possible.

Were Mesopotamia (8), Moab (12), and Philistia (31) pagan nations, or nations that worshiped the Lord? Why did God judge and discipline Israel for their idolatry by raising up pagan nations against them? Does God discipline Believers’ sin in a similar way today?

Did the pagan nations triumph over God and His people in the end? (10, 30, 31) What happened to them? How does this point ahead to Christ ultimately conquering the enemy?

3. Read 7-11. What do we know about Othniel besides what is mentioned here? Read these passages. What do we know about Caleb? Two faithful brothers. What might we be able to infer about their parents and they way they raised Othniel and Caleb? Why is it important to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?

How does the period of Othniel’s judgeship in 7-11 fit Israel’s pattern of sin and repentance in 2:16-23?

4. Read 12-30. What was God’s message to Eglon (20)? As I read this passage, the thought occurs to me that God’s judgment of sin is often messy, bloody, gross, and painful. Think about the physical gore that accompanied God’s judgment against the sin of Eglon. Now think about the physical gore of Christ’s scourging and crucifixion that accompanied God’s judgment of our sin poured out on Him. How does this physical, tangible gore in judgment paint a picture for us of how messy, bloody, gross, and painful sin itself is?

5. Compare the intricate details God gives us about Ehud and his victory over Eglon to the one sentence He gives us about Shamgar and his victory over the Philistines (31). Why do you think there’s such a discrepancy in the amount of detail God gives us? Is this an indicator that Ehud was more important or more faithful than Shamgar was? Why not? How might this help us understand, especially in light of today’s evangelical celebrity culture, that neither fame nor obscurity are a measure of a Christian’s faithfulness to the Lord or effectiveness in the work of Kingdom?

6. How long was Israel under the oppression of Mesopotamia (8)? Of Moab (14)? As we continue our study in Judges, take note of how long Israel was under oppression before they finally cried out to the Lord for help. Why do you think it took them so long to humble themselves and throw themselves on the mercy of God? Why do we as individual sinners often do the same thing – running from God for years, or even a lifetime, before humbling ourselves and bowing the knee to Christ?

7. As we continue to study Judges, notice that after each judge conquered the enemy and remained alive, the people followed and obeyed God, but after he died, the people forgot the Lord and wandered away from Him (10-12). Jesus, our perfect and permanent Judge, conquered the enemy by His death burial, and resurrection, and remains alive today and for eternity. How does the fact that Christ is living and will never die affect His followers’ obedience and faithfulness to Him? If Jesus had stayed in the grave, would people still be following Him today?


Homework

  • In today’s passage, we see Israel whoring after the gods of pagan nations, and God raising up those nations in judgment and discipline against Israel. How does this paradigm demonstrate that the very sin we love and cling to will destroy us if we don’t repent of it? Read my article When Animals Attack. Are there any sins in your life that you’re “cuddling up to”? How could that sin turn on you and destroy you? Spend some time in prayer, confessing your sin and repenting. Ask God for the strength to turn away from that sin and to resist temptation.
  • Notice in today’s passage how difficult times led Israel to humble themselves and cry out to the Lord, putting themselves in the right and godly posture of fully depending on His grace and mercy. Also notice that in times of peace and ease, when the land had rest for many years (11, 30), that this was conducive to Israel forgetting the Lord (7), and pridefully trusting in themselves, giving in to the lusts of their flesh, and wandering off into idolatry. Have you ever experienced this in your own life? Think about a difficult time you’ve been through that led you to cry out to the Lord and depend more fully on Him. How is it sometimes more challenging to stay faithful to God when life is going well for us? Make a list of some ways you can fortify yourself spiritually during the good times that will help you stay faithful to Him during those good times and will also help you to depend on and trust God during the hard times.

Suggested Memory Verse

Judges Bible Study

Judges ~ Lesson 3

Previous Lessons: 1, 2,

Read Judges 2:6-3:6

Questions to Consider

1. The passages in last week’s lesson (lesson 2, link above), and today’s lesson are, in essence, parts 1 & 2 of the introduction to Judges. Review lesson 2. As you’re studying today’s lesson, consider how it hinges upon last week’s lesson.

2. Compare 2:6-10 to 1:1, with regard to Joshua. Explain the function of 2:6-10 at the beginning of today’s passage when it’s clear from 1:1 that Joshua is already dead. (Note the Hebrew tendency to sometimes favor grouping concepts or topics together instead of writing in a linear, chronological order.) Skim back over 1:1-26, and briefly explain who “the elders who outlived Joshua” (2:7) and “all that generation” (2:10) were. How does 2:6-10 transition us from the era of Joshua to the era of the judges?

3. How does 2:10 explain 2:11-13? How does 2:11-15 fulfill 2:1-3? Explain in your own words how the Canaanite gods became a snare to Israel. Do you think, when the Israelites were worshiping those gods, that they felt, or considered themselves ensnared?

Have you ever made an idol of something in your life – perhaps your marriage, your children, your job, your popularity, your looks, even a ministry you were involved in? When you were engaged in that sin of idolatry, did you feel, or consider yourself ensnared? Explain how idolatry can deceive a person into not even realizing she’s ensnared, and how this relates to, and shows us the importance of, the first two Commandments.

4. Compare 2:14-15 with 1 John 4:8, and explain how and why these passages do not conflict with one another. (Try to figure it out on your own first, but if you’re hopelessly stuck, click here for a hint.)

5. Judges 2:16-23 is sort of a “CliffsNotes” of the rest of the book. In your own words, make a step by step outline of the pattern of sin and repentance Israel repeated throughout the era of the judges. Do you see any similarities between Israel’s pattern of sin and repentance and your own? Any differences?

When this passage refers to “Israel/they/them,” do you think it means every single individual alive in Israel at the time, or does it mean the vast majority of Israel? In other words, even in Israel’s darkest days of idolatry, were there a few Israelites who remained faithful to God? (Keep this question in mind as we continue to study Judges.) Do you see any similarities between the majority of Israel in this passage, and the majority of the visible church today?

6. How does 2:16-23, and, indeed, the whole book of Judges, point us to Jesus, the perfect judge who permanently saves?

7. In 2:21-3:6, God speaks of testing Israel. How did He test them? Why did He test them? Did they pass or fail the test? Read these passages. Does God test Christians today? How does He test Christians? Why does He test Christians? Did God test Israel, or Christians today, because He doesn’t know how they will respond to the test and He needs to find out?


Homework

  • Now that you’ve worked through parts 1 and 2 (lessons 2 and 3) of the introduction to Judges, outline or describe the way these two parts fit together. How does foundational disobedience (part 1) beget further disobedience (part 2)?
  • Review what you learned in #7. Looking back over your life, can you recall a time when God was testing you? Did you pass or fail the test? How did God use that test to grow you and strengthen your faith? Repent of any way in which you failed that test, and give God the glory for any way in which you were able to be obedient to Him in that test. During your prayer time this week, ask God to help you look at the trials in your life as tests of your faithfulness and ask Him to strengthen you to pass those tests and to grow you through those tests.

Suggested Memory Verse

Judges Bible Study

Judges ~ Lesson 2

Welcome, ladies! Just a reminder, please do not skip Lesson 1 from last week (link below). Not only will it answer any questions you may have about the study itself, but if you want to study Judges properly, you must do the background work contained in Lesson 1.

Previous Lessons: 1

Read Judges 1:1-2:5

Questions to Consider

1. Review your notes from last week’s introductory lesson. What are some things to keep in mind as you begin to study the text of Judges today?

2. Carefully examine Deuteronomy 7. How does this passage serve as the historical backdrop for 1:1? How does Judges 1:1-2:5 carry out, and fail to carry out, Deuteronomy 7?

3. In your own words, and using your cross-references, describe what is happening in 1:1-3. Why was it important that the people inquired of the Lord? Were Judah and Simeon individuals?

4. Using the maps in your Bible, or these maps (scroll down to “Judges”), attempt to identify as many locations mentioned in today’s passage as possible, and describe, in your own words, the confrontations at each location.

5. In 1:27-36, who are Manasseh, Ephraim, Zebulun, Asher, Naphtali, and Dan? How did they fail to carry out God’s instructions from Deuteronomy 7?

6. In 2:2, God says to Israel, “You have not obeyed my voice.” List the ways Israel had disobeyed God. Did God give them “credit” for their partial obedience in 1:1-26? It has been said that “Partial obedience is disobedience.” Explain this statement in light of today’s passage.

Israel was a corporate body of God’s people, similar to the way the local church is a corporate body of God’s people. What happens to a local church when part of the body is walking in obedience, and part of the body is walking in disobedience?

7. At the end of 2:3, what was God’s main concern with Israel’s failure to drive the pagan nations out of the Promised Land? Think about what you know of Old Testament history from this point on. How did the Canaanite gods become a “snare” to Israel?

8. Examine these New Testament passages. How is what God teaches Christians in the New Testament about avoiding false teachers and professing Christians who live in unrepentant sin similar to God’s commands in Deuteronomy and Judges about driving out the pagans so Israel wouldn’t be drawn away by sin and false gods?

9. What was the people’s response to God pronouncing the consequences of their sin in 2:4-5? Does it seem from these verses that this was a godly grief over their sin or a worldly grief over the consequences? What kind of grief does God want us to have when confronted with our sin? Does God always remove the consequences of our sin when we repent? Watch, as we continue our study in Judges, to see if God removes the consequences of Israel’s sin.

10. Today’s passage lays the foundation for what is to come in the book of Judges. Describe the foundation Israel laid, and what you expect to see happen when they build on that foundation in the chapters to come.


Homework

  • Think about your church. Is there any way part of the body is walking in disobedience? How? Commit to praying for your church about this, and prayerfully consider whether you should speak to your pastor about it, and how you might influence your brothers and sisters in Christ toward obedience to Scripture.
  • Consider your relationships and partnerships in light of the New Testament passages linked in #8. Is there any way you need to “come out from among them and be ye separate”? Pray about how God would have you be set apart to Him when it comes to these relationships and partnerships.

Suggested Memory Verse