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Copyr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 1 - UNFINISHED BUSINESS (Judges 1)

INTRODUCTION: THIS WEEK WE START A NEW QUARTER AND A NEW BOOK:
JUDGES! I AM EXCITED TO BE STUDYING A BOOK OF THE BIBLE AGAIN - AS
OPPOSED TO STUDYING A TOPIC BASED ON THE "PROOF TEXT" METHOD.  MY
CHILDREN AND I HAVE BEEN READING JUDGES FOR A FEW WEEKS NOW, AND
I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU IT HAS SOME INTERESTING AND SOMETIMES STRANGE
STORIES. 

SO, LETS GET INTO IT!  THE SETTING FOR THIS BOOK IS BELIEVED TO BE
THE 350 YEARS (1400 - 1050 BC) BETWEEN THE TIME OF JOSHUA AND
SAMUEL.

I. FOLLOWING GOD AND HAVING SUCCESS.

     A. TURN WITH ME TO JUDGES 1:1. READ

          1. WHAT TWO THINGS DOES THIS TEACH US ABOUT GOD'S PEOPLE
          AT THIS POINT IN THEIR HISTORY? 
          
               (a.THEY WERE WITHOUT A LEADER, BUT INSTEAD OF 
               TURNING TO THEMSELVES, THEY TURNED TO GOD.
               
               b. THEY STILL HAD GOD'S GOAL IN MIND: TO COMPLETELY
               CONQUER THE LAND THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN. JOSHUA 21:43-
               45 TELLS US THAT ISRAEL DEFEATED THE INHABITANTS OF
               CANAAN, BUT WE WILL SEE IN THIS CHAPTER THAT NOT
               ALL THE CANAANITES HAD BEEN KILLED OR DRIVEN OUT
               AND THEY WERE STILL A PROBLEM TO THE ISRAELITES)

          2. WHAT LESSONS CAN THE PRAYER OF THE ISRAELITES TEACH
          US? (TO CONSULT WITH GOD. TO TAKE WHAT HE HAS ALREADY
          REVEALED TO US AND LOOK FOR HIS FURTHER DIRECTION.)

          3. CONSIDER THE CANAANITES THAT THE ISRAELISTES HAD TO
          FACE. WHAT COULD BE A "CANAANITE" PROBLEM IN YOUR LIVE?
          (OLD SINS THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE OVER.  PROBLEMS IN
          RELATIONSHIPS THAT YOU THOUGHT WERE PAST. PERHAPS SIN
          PROBLEMS THAT THE LORD "DEFEATED" FOR YOU, BUT YOU LET
          TEMPTATION LIE CLOSE AT HAND AND IT IS RAISING ITS UGLY
          HEAD AGAIN.)

          4. IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH CANANNITES IN YOUR LIFE,
          WHAT IS THE SPIRITUAL LESSON TO BE LEARNED HERE? (RELY ON
          GOD FOR DIRECTION IN THE BATTLE, INSTEAD OF RELYING ON
          YOUR OWN INSTINCTS.)

     B. READ JUDGES 1:2. DOES GOD ANSWER HIS PEOPLE? (YES!)

          1. WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT HIS ANSWER? (HE SAYS THAT HE
          HAS GIVEN THE LAND INTO THEIR HANDS!)

          2. KEEP YOUR FINGERS IN JUDGES, BUT TURN WITH ME A MINUTE
          TO ROMANS 4:17. READ.

               a. WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THE TWO TITLES GIVEN TO GOD
               HERE: "CALLS THINGS THAT ARE NOT AS THOUGH THEY
               WERE" AND "THE GOD WHO GIVES LIFE TO THE DEAD?"
               (THE ESSENCE OF FAITH IS TO BELIEVE THAT GOD HAS
               ALREADY DONE WHAT HE HAS PROMISED.)
                    (1) SO WHEN, IN JUDGES 1:2 GOD TELLS THE 
                    ISRAELITES "I HAVE GIVEN THE LAND INTO THEIR
                    HANDS," THE CANAANITES AND THE PERIZZITES
                    CURRENTLY HELD THE LAND, BUT GOD SAYS YOU
                    SHOULD ACT AS IF THE DEED IS ALREADY DONE,
                    THAT YOU ALREADY HOLD THE LAND!

     C. LETS SEE IF IT WORKED OUT THAT WAY. READ JUDGES 1:4-7.

          1. DID IT WORK OUT THAT WAY? (OF COURSE!)

          2. WHAT IS THIS BUSINESS ABOUT BIG TOES AND THUMBS?

               a. WHY IS THIS IN THE BIBLE?

               b. WHAT IS THE DEAL ABOUT ADONI-BEZEK (LORD BEZEK)
               AND BIG TOES AND THUMBS? (HE HAD BEEN DOING THIS TO
               THOSE HE CONQUERED: CUTTING OFF THEIR BIG TOES AND
               THUMBS)

               c. WHY DO YOU SUPPOSE LORD BEZEK DID THAT? (SIGN OF
               TAKING AWAY OF POWER. GREATLY HANDICAPPED IN
               FIGHTING IF YOU DO NOT HAVE YOUR THUMBS.  BIG TOES
               ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO GIVE YOU POWER IN WALKING.
               PERHAPS TO KEEP THEM FROM FIGHTING OR RUNNING IN
               THE FUTURE. SO THIS GUY HAD BEEN LITERALLY
               STRIPPING KINGS OF THEIR POWER, AND THEN LETTING
               THEM EAT THE SCRAPS FROM HIS TABLE: ANOTHER SIGN OF
               HIS DOMINATION.)

          3. DO YOU KNOW ANY LORD BEZEKS IN YOUR LIFE?

               a. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS COMING TO THEM?
               b. DO THEY KNOW WHAT IS COMING TO THEM? (BEZEK KNEW
               WHO HAD "PAID HIM BACK.")
                    (1) WE HAVE A "PAY BACK" KIND OF GOD. HE KEEPS
                    RECORDS AND HE REWARDS EACH PERSON "ACCORDING
                    TO WHAT HE HAS DONE." MATTHEW 16:27)

     D. VERSES 8-11 RECOUNT HOW THE ISRAELITES PUSHED BACK THE 
     CANAANITES ON SEVERAL FRONTS.  LETS SKIP VERSES 12-17 FOR NOW
     AND LEAVE THEM FOR LATER.
     
     E. READ JUDGES 1:17-19. SO FAR WE HAVE A PICTURE OF SUCCESS.
     ISRAEL ASKED GOD FOR DIRECTIONS ON DRIVING OUT THE REST OF THE
     CANAANITS, GOD SAID "JUDAH SHALL GO" AND JUDAH PREVAILED --
     UNTIL NOW.

          1. WHAT IS THE PROBLEM? (CHARIOTS OF IRON)

          2. I READ A HISTORICAL NOVEL ONCE ABOUT AN ARMY THAT DID
          NOT HAVE THE NEW TECHNOLOGY OF CHARIOTS COMING UP AGAINST
          ONE THAT DID. IT WAS A FASCINATING ACCOUNT.

          3. THIS VERSE (19) STARTS OUT BY SAYING THAT GOD WAS WITH
          JUDAH. IS GOD NOT ABLE TO OVERCOME MODERN TECHNOLOGY?

          4. LETS READ v. 20. JOSHUA HAS DIED OF OLD AGE. (JUDGES
          2:8 SAYS HE WAS 110.)  CALEB WAS PROBABLY ABOUT THE SAME
          AGE. WHAT IS JOSHUA DOING IN HIS DOTAGE? (THE ANAKIM WERE
          THE GIANTS THAT HAD SCARED THE PEOPLE IN THE FIRST
          PLACE.)

          5. LETS COMPARE HERE: DO YOU THINK FACING CHARIOTS OR 
          BEING AN OLD MAN FACING GIANTS IS WORSE? (THE IRON
          CHARIOTS ARE JUST AN EXCUSE. CALEB BELIEVED THAT GOD
          COULD DO ANYTHING, AND SO HE DID!) (DEUT. 7:17-18 "YOU
          MAY SAY TO YOURSELVES, `THESE NATIONS ARE STRONGER THAN
          WE ARE.  HOW CAN WE DRIVE THEM OUT?' DO NOT BE AFRAID OF
          THEM; REMEMBER WELL WHAT THE LORD YOUR GOD DID TO PHARAOH
          AND TO ALL EGYPT.")

          6. IS IT POSSIBLE TO HAVE ONE KIND OF FAITH, BUT NOT 
          ANOTHER? FOR EXAMPLE, COULD THE PEOPLE BELIEVE THAT GOD
          WOULD HELP THEM DEFEAT THE "HILL PEOPLE," BUT WHEN IT
          CAME TO A TRULY DIFFICULT TASK, BEATING CHARIOTS ON THE
          PLAINS, THAT THEY DID NOT HAVE THAT KIND OF FAITH?

               a. IS THAT A PROBLEM WITH OUR LIVES?  THAT WE JUST
               BELIEVE IN GOD FOR SMALL (EASY) THINGS?

          7. WHAT COULD BE "IRON CHARIOTS" IN YOUR LIFE? (ANYTHING
          THAT RATIONALLY PUTS YOU AT A DISADVANTAGE. GOD
          DESPERATELY WANTS US TO LOOK TO HIM FOR SALVATON AND NOT
          TO HUMAN REASONING.)

     F. VERSES 21, 26-35 HAVE A DISCOURAGING SIMILARITY. LETS READ
     AN EXAMPLE. READ JUDGES 1:33. 
     
          1. IS THE TRIBE OF NAPHTALI UNABLE OR UNWILLING TO DRIVE
          OUT THE CANAANITES? 

          2. WHAT DOES THIS RECORD OF LEVYING TRIBUTE SUGGEST? 
          (THEY HAD OVERPOWERED THE CANAANITES -- ELSE THEY WOULD
          NOT HAVE BEEN WILLING TO PAY TRIBUTE.)

     G. LETS READ ON. JUDGES 2:1-2. GOD HAS A QUESTION: WHY NOT 
     OBEY GOD WHO HAD TOLD THEM TO DESTROY THE CANAANITES? (IN
     NUMBERS 33:55-56 GOD WARNS ISRAEL THAT THEY MUST DESTROY THE
     CANAANITES OR THIS THEY WILL CREATE TROUBLE FOR THEM AND GOD
     WILL DO TO ISREAL WHAT HE PLANNED FOR THE
     CANAANITES.)(LANGUAGE OF NUMBERS 33 VERY SIMILAR TO JUDGES
     2:3)

          1. SO WHY DIDN'T ISRAEL OBEY?

          2. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

               (a. IMAGINE HAVING THE EXTRA MONEY, AND MAYBE 
               SERVANTS. FIGHTING WAS WORK AND DANGEROUS TO BOOT.
               TRIBUTE WAS A LOT EASIER: YOU GOT MONEY AND HELP.)

          3. DID ISREAL HAVE A "COVENANT" WITH THE CANAANITES? 
          (YES. A TRIBUTE AGREEMENT)

     H. READ JUDGES 2:3-5.

          1. WHAT DOES THIS SUGGEST CAN HAPPEN TO US IF WE
          DISREGARD GOD'S WARNINGS? (CAN LOSE THE BLESSING TO WHICH
          YOU WERE CALLED.).

     I. NOW LETS GO BACK AND PICK UP JUDGES 1:12-15. READ .

          1. WHO IS CALEB? (ONE OF THE TWO FAITHFUL SPIES. BY THIS
          TIME AN OLD MAN. BUT HIS INTRODUCTION HERE MAY MEAN THAT
          HE LEAD THE TRIBE OF JUDAH INTO BATTLE.)

          2. WHAT DOES CALEB PROMISE? (HIS DAUGHTER TO WHOEVER CAN
          CAPTURE KIRIATH SEPHER (DEBIR)

          3. DOES HE KEEP HIS PROMISE? (YES) 

          4. OTHNIEL LATER BECOMES THE FIRST JUDGE TO DELIVER 
          ISREAL (JUDGES 3:7-11)

               a. OTHNIEL CAN DEFEAT A CITY, BUT HIS WIFE IS A NAG,
               RIGHT? (SHE WANTS A FIELD)

               b. IS SHE SATISFIED WITH A FIELD? (NO. SHE ALSO 
               WANTS SPRINGS.)

               c. DOES OTHNIEL DO WHAT HIS WIFE REQUESTS? (NOT 
               CLEAR. I DO NOT THINK HE DID. I THINK THIS NEGEV
               PROPERTY CAME FROM AN EARLIER VICTORY. (JUDGES 1:9)

                    (1) WHETHER OTHNIEL ASKED HIS FATHER IN LAW FOR
                    THE LAND, WHO APPROACHED CALEB? (SHE DID!
                    v.15.)

          5. WHY IS THIS IN THE BIBLE? WHAT IS THE POINT, IF ANY?
          (IT HIGHLIGHTS THE LIFE OF TWO IMPORTANT CHARACTERS FROM
          JOSHUA AND JUDGES. AND IT SHOWS NOT ONLY A KINDNESS TO
          WOMEN, BUT THAT CALEB'S DAUGHTER WAS A SMART, AGGRESSIVE
          BUSINESS PERSON. SHE KNEW YOU NEEDED THOSE SPRINGS AND
          WAS NOT AFRAID TO ASK HER FATHER.)

II. NEXT WEEK: JUDGES 2-3. STUDY!