The Book of Judges Bible Study: Chapter 1
Judges 1 - The Heart of the Problem
by I Gordon
 ↩ Joshua 11:23 says that Joshua took the entire land and gave it as an inheritance to the tribes of Israel. Now the name Joshua is basically the same in the Hebrew as Jesus, with both of them meaning 'Jehovah is salvation'. So we have a good little picture here, in that just as Joshua took the entire land and gave it to Israel as their inheritance, so has Jesus fully completed our salvation and given it as the inheritance of those that will believe. But even though Joshua gave it to the tribes of Israel, we see in Judges that the tribes still had to go and possess it, trusting in the Lord. Likewise, all Christians have been 'blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ' (Eph 1:4) but there is still the need to walk in faith, believing these things, and not allow the enemy to blind our eyes or frighten us to the extent that we compromise our walk and peace in the Lord. Jesus has won the victory, but we are called to walk daily in that victory. Same message as presented here with Joshua, Judges, and the promised land.
 ↩ Jesus Christ is the heir who will inherit all things. (Heb 1:2,4) Yet through His grace, and because we are 'in Him', we too share in that inheritance! (Rom 8:17) While the fullness of our inheritance is in Heaven (1 Pet 1:4), the full extent of salvation itself is our inheritance (Heb 1:14) and through the Holy Spirit we are still called to enter into our position 'in Christ' now being heirs of salvation (Gal 4:6-7)
 ↩ Actually, as a side note, most of the tribes were slow to enter into their inheritance as stated in Josh 18:1-3. Obviously this couldn't, in any way, be a picture of Christians!
 ↩ I say for a while because chapter 18 of Judges shows that Dan never succeeded in living in their land and was later forced to look for their inheritance elsewhere.
 ↩ Although, just on a personal note, the longer I go as a Christian, the more I realise that the worst enemy is... me! The sinful nature that dwells within me is by far the biggest obstacle I face. I can fear what the world is thinking, when they aren't thinking anything! And I'm sure Satan gets blamed for things he never did! At the end of the day, Satan may tempt, the world may lure, but it's your own nature that leads you astray. (James 1:13-14) But thank the Lord that it is still dead 'in Christ' and as you abide in all that He is, you find that true in your own experience.
 ↩ A simple example would be your reaction when a new trial arises. Through thanksgiving and presenting your requests to God, the peace of God should be yours - to guard your heart and minds through the difficulty. Have you experienced that? Or has the fear of the enemy robbed you of that peace? I write this as someone who has freaked out enough to be sick of letting the enemy steal my peace and no longer want those Hittites (means 'sons of terror' and speaks of fear) in the land!
 ↩ Caleb was awesome! No doubt about it. When he was 40, and faced with the task of entering the land and defeating these giants, his message was 'do not fear the people of the land, for they shall be our prey... the Lord is with us; do not fear them.' For this wonderful, faith filled message he nearly took a stoning! (Num 14:6-10) Now, 45 years later (Josh 14:10), he was faced with the same enemy and nothing was going to stop this old man! He had followed the Lord fully (Josh 14:14), and as he went out to defeat them he was still reckoning on the Lord saying 'perhaps the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out...' (Josh 14:12). He defeated them and was given Hebron, which means 'communion'. (Josh 15:13,14) What an amazing example of faith and commitment was seen throughout his entire life!
 ↩ Please read Exodus 23:23-33 where God lays out the rules for entering and living in the land. Specifically, they were to make no covenant or agreement with the enemy, nor were these nations allowed to live in the land... else they would be a snare to Israel. (vs32,33) Exodus 34:11-16 is even clearer on how Israel would be lead astray by these nations if they didn't drive them out. Israel was to tear down their alters, smash their pillars, and cut down their Asherim (which were images of Asherah, the mother of 70 gods, including Baal). Not very politically correct now was it? I'm sure the current day ecumenical supporters (I was going to say 'Idiots' but I won't!) within Christianity wouldn't have agreed. But it was essential for Israel's spiritual prosperity for God knew that the other 'gods' would lead Israel astray otherwise. Check out Joshua's heartfelt plea to Israel, when, as an old man, he almost begged them to 'cling to the Lord' and not associate with any of the other nations. (Joshua 23)
 ↩ 2 Cor 6:14-18 would have to be the New Testament equivalent to the Old Testament commands given in the previous footnote. Along these lines is Eph 4:17-32, Eph 5:1-21. Also Gal 5:15-25 for no compromise with the sinful nature. And just as the Old Testament revealed that God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14 - jealous for His peoples attention and devotion), so in the New Testament it is revealed that the Spirit who lives within us 'envies intensely' when the love we should have for God is given to the world! Not sure about you, but that gets me. Most of these verses mentioned are commands against worldliness, because through the ways of the world you have the influence of Satan and the deeds of the flesh combined!
 ↩ Let me spell it out again in the small print. These nations were not meant to be 'within the land'. Now Israel would always have problems with the other nations surrounding them, tempting them to lead them astray... that's normal, but this wasn't meant to happen right within the very places they lived. It's exactly the same for us. Temptations will always come to drag us away from the Lord (in whatever way)... that, likewise, is normal for living in this world. But we are not meant to have compromised to the extent where we are repetitively putting ourselves into the place of temptation. Ask the Lord whether there are still areas of your life where, through disobedience, you are allowing the enemy to live IN the land.
 ↩ Some of the sayings of Jesus sound very brutal. Here is one that used to sound that way to me - 'If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire.' (Matt 18:8) Now that is brutal! But I understand it better now. There are times when we have to be brutal with the things, or people, that would drag us away from our relationship with God and lead to sin. God's message to Israel was one of no compromises with the enemy. Sometimes the enemy comes in the form of the people you associate with, or the places you hang out in. If it is causing you to be put in a compromised position then be brutal! Cut it off! Don't allow the cycle of sin to take hold!
Related Series Posts
- Judges Bible Study Commentary - The Cycle of Sin Defined
- Judges 1 Bible Study The Heart of the Problem
- Judges: From Gilgal to Bochim: The legacy of Joshua
- Judges 3 Bible Study The Enemy within the Land
- Judges 3 Bible Study: Othniel and the Power of God
- Judges 3 Bible Study Ehud, the Fat Man & Power of Praise!
- Judges Chapter 6 Bible Study: Gideon and the Power of Weakness P1
- Judges Chapter 7 Bible Study - Gideon and the Power of Weakness P2
- Judges Chapter 13-14: Samson the Nazirite, and the Lure of the Philistines
- Judges Chapter 16: Samson the Nazirite, and End Time Apostasy