30 Days to Understanding the Bible Session 3

Faith Church May 1, 2004

Overview:  This session covers the material in Chapters 8-9 

 

Introduction

(Relate story on p. 57)

 

As we begin talking about the period of the Judges, there is a striking parallel between Garbage Mary and Israel.

This would be a time when the Jewish people had lost their spiritual moorings everyone was doing what was right in his own eyes.”

 

So with that in mind let’s now think about the period of time known as the “judges”

I.  Judges

Story-Line Summary—Samson and others were chosen as judges to govern the people for four hundred rebellious years.

 

Throughout this period we see these four subjects  (on board?)

A) Judges      B) Rebellion  C) Cycles  D) Ruth

 

B.  Judges: The leaders in Israel

INPUT:  What do we think typically today when we think of “judges”

 

What the judges are NOT: Men who wear long flowing black robes & sit on high benches & make legal  decisions.

What the judges ARE:  Political-military leaders

              they exercise nearly absolute power – because of their OFFICE and ABILITIES.

Four major judges: (you may want to ask:  INPUT:  What do you know about this main judges)

  • Deborah – a woman judge early in this era
  • Gideon – defeats an army of thousands with only 300 men
  • Samson – (most famous) known for strength – but also lacked character & faithfulness
  • Samuel – (transitional character) – last judge and first prophet   

 

The next theme that we see through this period is . . .

C.  Rebellion:  The breaking of God’s law (Judges)

The Conquest Era (with Joshua) was BRIGHT! – often the result of good leadership!

The Judges Era is one of the DARKEST of Israel’s history – usually rebellion is at the root!

Now, if they were rebellion, let’s mention a little about what they were supposed to be doing.

Note: Before Moses dies, he instructs them to do 3 things (Deut. 7:1-5):

1) Destroy all the inhabitants of  Canaan

2) Avoid intermarriage with Canaanites

3) Do not worship the Canaanite gods

Result:  Israel FAILS!

Important Point:  When you rebel/reject, the spiral goes DOWNWARD really fast!

-  Remember: Consequences!!

-  You can chose to obey/disobey – but you can’t chose the consequences!

 

D.  Cycles:  Repetition of Israel’s misfortunes  (Judges)

 7 cycles recorded in Judges

 Each cycle has 5 parts:

1)  Israel “sins”

2)  God disciplines (through military conquest by a neighboring country)

3)  Israel “repents” (cries to God for deliverance)

4)  God raises up a judge who “delivers” them

5)  God “frees” the land from military aggression (for the remainder of that judges life)

 

When the judge dies – it  starts all over again (1-5)

That happened 7 times!!

Input:  What are some lessons about people that this teaches us?

Input:  What are some lessons about God that this teaches us?

 

D.  Ruth: A model woman (Ruth)

Now here was an exception to the Judges Era!

Ruth is an example of MORAL  & SPIRITUAL strength!

 Her story is on of:

Love,  Purity, Commitment

 

*  Ruth is a living illustration of blessings that God showers on those who live in faithful obedience to Him

-  Greatest blessing to Ruth: A non-Hebrew, is listed in the lineage from Abraham to Jesus  (part of the promise of “seed” to Abraham)

 

Review Quiz

Now from the Judge era we go into the Kingdom era

(May want them to read Illustration on p. 63)

 

II.  The Kingdom Era:

 

Story-line Summary

David the greatest King in the new monarchy, is followed by a succession of mostly unrighteous kings, and God eventually judges Israel for her sin, sending her into exile.

There are four main PERIODS in the Kingdom Era

A.  United Kingdom

B.  Division of the Kingdom

C.  Northern Kingdom

D.  Southern Kingdom

 

A.  United Kingdom: A new monarchy (1 & 2 Samuel)

[Explain the Theocracy – God ruling]

But now, the 12 tribes of Israel – jealous of other nations around them…are united in their demand to God for a king

1 Samuel 8:5 and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.”

The Lord and Samuel were not pleased with this request from the children of Israel

1 Samuel 8:7

7 And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. 1 Samuel 12:17

17 “Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call to the Lord, that He may send thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the Lord by asking for yourselves a king.”

 

The “wicked thing” about this request was not that they wanted a king, but they wanted a king like “all the nations.

 

In wanting a king “like all the nations, “ Israel would be exchanging the simple theocratic form of government, based on moral principles and dedicated to the general welfare, for something which could become an unwieldy and monstrous governmental structure dedicated mainly to its own perpetuation.

 

Input:  What does this imply about their view of God?

( not good enough,  other answers)

Note:  God wasn’t good enough – just like in the NT – “we will not have this man to rule over us”

 

Note:  Remember the type of people around them – wicked, offered children to idol, etc.

 

Input: What does this say about what they thought of those nations?  What was going on in their inner man?

 

Input: What does this say about their spiritual condition?

>  bad

Application:  I John 2:15-17; I Cor 15:33

God gave them their request to a limited extent; he did not allow them to “chose” their own King. God appointed them

Samuel anoints Saul – beginning of a new monarchy

 

 

Input:  What type of King was Saul? – Disobedient – ½ hearted!

Cf. I Sam 15 – review details

 

Input: Who took Saul’s place? – David

David was not PERFECT (Ps 51) but he was described as “a man after God’s own heart”

Note: He sinned  - but he repented well!

Result:  Israel Prospers

(Also – “Davidic Covenant 2 Sam 7:8”  -  his throne would not depart from Jerusalem)

Input:  Who followed David? – Solomon

 starts out well – drifts!

 

B.  Divided Kingdom: A civil war (I Kings)

 as a result of his drifting

Input:  What lessons about LEADERSHIP ( or lack of it) can we learn from Solomon?

 when it fails – takes many people with it!

Cf. “no man lives to himself; no man dies to himself” – Romans 14:7

- There is now disunity & division – result:

Northern Kingdom (10 tribes)

Southern Kingdom (2 tribes – Judah/Benjamin)

Northern – ISRAEL

Southern – JUDAH (larger tribe)

 

C.  Northern Kingdom: The unrighteous kingdom  (2 kings)

King Jeroboam (unrighteous)

Next 19 (for 250 yrs) that follow him = UNRIGHTEOUS KINGS

 

Input: Implications of their example of leadership?

- once wickedness gets a “foot-hold” it’s HARD to break

* LESSON:  It’s easier to say “no” to sin than it is to change directions once you’re on the path of sin

 

D. Southern Kingdom:  The inconsistent Kingdom [see book for final comments – READ]

 

(Review Quiz pp. 66-68, May want to show on map the deportations of the Northern Kingdom to Assyria, and the Southern Kingdom to Babylon)

Faith Church