God commanded His people to ‘drive out’ His enemies. Again and again, they failed (1:19,21,27-33). In Isaiah 30:21, God says, ‘This is the way, walk in it’. Here, in the sin and shame of Israel, He warns us, ‘This is not the way, do not walk in it’ (2:11-15). Barak is an example of ‘faith’ (Hebrews 11:32-34). Faith involves believing God’s promise - ‘I will give...’ and obeying His command - ‘Go’ (4:6-7). ‘The people of the Lord marched down for Him against the mighty (5:13) - God is still calling His people to march for Him. In himself, Gideon was weak (6:15). In the Lord, he was ‘a mighty warrior’ (6:12). ‘For the Lord and for Gideon’ (7:18). Notice who comes first. It is not Gideon. It is the Lord. The people of Israel had forgotten ‘the Lord their God’ (8:34). What kind of person are you becoming? Each of us must choose!
The story of Samson points us to the greater Story of Jesus. There is, however, a great difference between Samson and Jesus. Often, Samson was concerned only with what pleased him (14:3,7). Always, Jesus did the will of God (John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38). Samson was a sinner yet, ‘the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him’ (14:19). This is divine grace. ‘“I will go out at other times, and shake myself free”. But he did not know that the Lord had left him’ (16:20). There is a warning for us here. Yesterday’s triumphs do not guarantee today’s victory. Today’s challenge needs today’s grace. We need to keep close to the Lord - ‘His mercies... are new every morning’ (Lamentations 3:22-23). ‘Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite priest’ (18:13). Micah’s priest was a ‘Yes’ man. He told Micah what he wanted to hear. Many people ‘refuse to listen to the truth’. They prefer to listen to those who ‘tell them what they want to hear’ (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Many are ‘lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God’ (2 Timothy 3:4). We must not fall into the trap of ‘trying to please all the people all the time’. Seek to be like Jesus - ‘I seek not My own will but the will of Him who sent Me’ (John 5:30). God uses a sinful and shameful situation - ‘Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day’ (19:30) - to call His people back to Himself - ‘all the people of Israel... assembled as one man to the Lord’ (20:1). ‘Every man did what was right in his own eyes’ (21:25). The people had no regard for the authority of God and His Word. In Romans 5:20, we have Good News: ‘where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’. Here, we have bad news: ‘where grace increased, sin abounded all the more’. Reading Judges, we become acutely aware of the need for revival in our own day. God has shown us His way to revival: ‘If my people who are called by My Name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14).