Judges: Scripture's Believe It Or Not!
How The Promised Land Became A Spiritual Wasteland
April 12-13, 2008
A GOOD START:
Rising Up To The Challenge
Judges 1:1-19 Genesis 49:8-9 Deuteronomy 8:1-9 Joshua 23:6-11 Genesis 15:16
After the death of Joshua, the Israelites asked the Lord, "Who will be the first to go up and fight for us against the Canaanites?"
 The Lord answered, "Judah is to go; I have given the land into their hands."
 Then the men of Judah said to the Simeonites their brothers, "Come up with us into the territory allotted to us, to fight against the Canaanites. We in turn will go with you into yours." So the Simeonites went with them.
 When Judah attacked, the Lord gave the Canaanites and Perizzites into their hands and they struck down ten thousand men at Bezek.  It was there that they found Adoni-Bezek and fought against him, putting to rout the Canaanites and Perizzites.  Adoni-Bezek fled, but they chased him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes.
 Then Adoni-Bezek said, "Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off have picked up scraps under my table. Now God has paid me back for what I did to them." They brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
 The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem also and took it. They put the city to the sword and set it on fire.
 After that, the men of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev and the western foothills.  They advanced against the Canaanites living in Hebron (formerly called Kiriath Arba) and defeated Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai.
 From there they advanced against the people living in Debir (formerly called Kiriath Sepher).  And Caleb said, "I will give my daughter Acsah in marriage to the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher."  Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it; so Caleb gave his daughter Acsah to him in marriage.
 One day when she came to Othniel, she urged him to ask her father for a field. When she got off her donkey, Caleb asked her, "What can I do for you?"
 She replied, "Do me a special favor. Since you have given me land in the Negev, give me also springs of water." Then Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs.
 The descendants of Moses' father-in-law, the Kenite, went up from the City of Palms with the men of Judah to live among the people of the Desert of Judah in the Negev near Arad.
 Then the men of Judah went with the Simeonites their brothers and attacked the Canaanites living in Zephath, and they totally destroyed the city. Therefore it was called Hormah.  The men of Judah also took Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron--each city with its territory.
 The Lord was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had iron chariots. [NIV]
"Judah, your brothers will praise you;
your hand will be on the neck of your enemies;
your father's sons will bow down to you.
 You are a lion's cub, O Judah;
you return from the prey, my son.
Like a lion he crouches and lies down,
like a lioness--who dares to rouse him? [NIV]
Be careful to follow every command I am giving you today, so that you may live and increase and may enter and possess the land that the Lord promised on oath to your forefathers.  Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.  He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.  Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.  Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.
 Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and revering him.  For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land--a land with streams and pools of water, with springs flowing in the valleys and hills;  a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey;  a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills. [NIV]
"Be very strong; be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left.  Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down to them.  But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now.
 "The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you.  One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as he promised.  So be very careful to love the Lord your God. [NIV]
In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure." [NIV]
A WEAK FINISH:
Backing Down From The Challenge
Judges 1:20-36 Deuteronomy 7:17-24 Isaiah 42:16-17 James 4:17 Philippians 3:12-14
As Moses had promised, Hebron was given to Caleb, who drove from it the three sons of Anak.  The Benjamites, however, failed to dislodge the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem; to this day the Jebusites live there with the Benjamites.
 Now the house of Joseph attacked Bethel, and the Lord was with them.  When they sent men to spy out Bethel (formerly called Luz),  the spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, "Show us how to get into the city and we will see that you are treated well."  So he showed them, and they put the city to the sword but spared the man and his whole family.  He then went to the land of the Hittites, where he built a city and called it Luz, which is its name to this day.
 But Manasseh did not drive out the people of Beth Shan or Taanach or Dor or Ibleam or Megiddo and their surrounding settlements, for the Canaanites were determined to live in that land.  When Israel became strong, they pressed the Canaanites into forced labor but never drove them out completely.  Nor did Ephraim drive out the Canaanites living in Gezer, but the Canaanites continued to live there among them.  Neither did Zebulun drive out the Canaanites living in Kitron or Nahalol, who remained among them; but they did subject them to forced labor.  Nor did Asher drive out those living in Acco or Sidon or Ahlab or Aczib or Helbah or Aphek or Rehob,  and because of this the people of Asher lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land.  Neither did Naphtali drive out those living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath; but the Naphtalites too lived among the Canaanite inhabitants of the land, and those living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath became forced laborers for them.  The Amorites confined the Danites to the hill country, not allowing them to come down into the plain.  And the Amorites were determined also to hold out in Mount Heres, Aijalon and Shaalbim, but when the power of the house of Joseph increased, they too were pressed into forced labor.  The boundary of the Amorites was from Scorpion Pass to Sela and beyond. [NIV]
You may say to yourselves, "These nations are stronger than we are. How can we drive them out?"  But do not be afraid of them; remember well what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt.  You saw with your own eyes the great trials, the miraculous signs and wonders, the mighty hand and outstretched arm, with which the Lord your God brought you out. The Lord your God will do the same to all the peoples you now fear.  Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.  Do not be terrified by them, for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a great and awesome God.  The Lord your God will drive out those nations before you, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.  But the Lord your God will deliver them over to you, throwing them into great confusion until they are destroyed.  He will give their kings into your hand, and you will wipe out their names from under heaven. No one will be able to stand up against you; you will destroy them. [NIV]
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.
 But those who trust in idols,
who say to images, 'You are our gods,'
will be turned back in utter shame. [NIV]
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. [NIV]
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. [NIV]
WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT ALL OF THIS?
Judges 2:1-10 Genesis 3:9 1 Kings 19:9 Jonah 4:10-11 Matthew 6:27 2 Corinthians 7:10
The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land that I swore to give to your forefathers. I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you,  and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.' Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this?  Now therefore I tell you that I will not drive them out before you; they will be thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you."
 When the angel of the Lord had spoken these things to all the Israelites, the people wept aloud,  and they called that place Bokim. There they offered sacrifices to the Lord.
 After Joshua had dismissed the Israelites, they went to take possession of the land, each to his own inheritance.  The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the Lord had done for Israel.
 Joshua son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of a hundred and ten.  And they buried him in the land of his inheritance, at Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash.
 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. [NIV]
But the Lord God called to the man, "Where are you?" [NIV]
There he went into a cave and spent the night.
And the word of the Lord came to him: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" [NIV]
But the Lord said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?" [NIV]
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? [NIV]
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. [NIV]