Wisdom - the final frontier to true knowledge. Welcome to Wisdom-Trek! Where our mission is to create a legacy of wisdom, to seek out discernment and insights, to boldly grow where few have chosen to grow before. Hello, my friend, I am Guthrie Chamberlain, your captain on our journey to increase Wisdom and Create a Living Legacy. Thank you for joining us today as we explore wisdom on our 2nd millennium of podcasts. This is Day 1326 of our Trek, and it is Worldview Wednesday. Creating a Biblical Worldview is important to have a proper perspective on today’s current events. To establish a Biblical Worldview, it is required that you also have a proper understanding of God and His Word. Our focus for the next several months on Worldview Wednesday is Mastering the Bible, through a series of brief insights. These insights are extracted from a book of the same title from one of today’s most prominent Hebrew Scholars, Dr. Micheal S. Heiser. This book is a collection of insights designed to help you understand the Bible better. When we let the Bible be what it is, we can understand it as the original readers did, and as its writers intended. Each week we will explore two insights.
The book of Judges is largely an intentional contrast between the faithlessness of God's people and his own faithfulness. Repeatedly in Judges, we read that Israel turned against God's laws and commands, suffered under foreign oppressors as a result, and then had to be bailed out of their misery by God. Judges 2:11-12 sums it up: “The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight and served the images of Baal. They abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They went after other gods, worshiping the gods of the people around them. And they angered the Lord. Then in Judges 2:15-16 was the resulting consequence. Every time Israel went out to battle, the Lord fought against them, causing them to be defeated, just as he had warned. And the people were in great distress. Then the Lord raised up judges to rescue the Israelites from their attackers.
When we see the word “judges,” we think of people who decide legal cases and pass out sentences to criminals. That isn’t who’s in view here. Reading through the book of Judges makes it clear that, with the exception of Deborah (who actually did listen to complaints and make decisions for people; see Judges 4:4-5, judges were military leaders that God raised up to defeat Israel’s enemies.
The period of the judges was one of lawlessness. It was chaotic and unpredictable. Twice the book tells readers in Judges 17:6; 21:25 that “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.” On nearly ten occasions, the author offers the blunt assessment that “The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight.”
Several analogies to the judges suggest themselves. The time of the judges could be looked upon like the Wild West, when gangs of outlaws controlled towns and territories by fear, ignoring the law. That would make judges the equivalent of sheriffs or hired guns. Perhaps more familiar, we could think of Canaan at this time like the fictional Gotham. None of the judges had a cape and lived in the Batcave, but you get the idea. Judges were deliverers, the superheroes of their day.
Judges were not kings. They did not rule over all the tribes, or even any single tribe. They did not have dynasties, although Gideon and his son Abimelech tried to pull that off (Judges 6-9). Judges were a temporary solution to the problems of the time. They defeated foreign enemies and restored law and order, ushering in a time of peace until the next judge was needed. Their authority was regional. For example, sometimes, Israel's oppressors only controlled specific cities (Judges 3:12-14).
The book of Judges serves an important purpose. It offered a vivid argument for kingship as a permanent solution to foreign conquest. As we'll see, God had planned all along for Israel to have kings. Having a king wasn’t a sin. But trusting a man instead of God was.
After the wars of Joshua and the conquering of the promised land, Israel fell into turmoil, as is mentioned in Judges 1. The conquest remained incomplete. Their failure was the result of apostasy, that is tolerating and even embracing other gods. As punishment, God allowed Israel to be overrun by foreign oppressors. The book of Judges chronicles that period, which was basically a repetitious cycle of apostasy, oppression, temporary repentance, and divinely appointed deliverance by a military leader referred to as a judge.
Samuel was a judge and served the people well. Unfortunately, his sons were corrupt and unreliable judges (l Samuel 8:1-3). The Israelites saw an opportunity to demand something more permanent. They demanded Samuel appoint a king so they could be like the rest of the nations (1 Samuel 8:4-5). Samuel didn’t like the idea and said so to both the Israelites and God (1 Samuel 8:6). God told him not to take it personally, since the request was really a rejection of God, not the prophet (1 Samuel 8:7-9).
The negative assessment has been taken by many Bible students as proof that kingship for Israel was evil. This is hard to reconcile with the fact that Deuteronomy 17:14-20 lays down rules for good kingship for Israel once it entered the land. Kingship is viewed positively even earlier than that. Genesis 49:10 which was written many centuries earlier, says very plainly that the tribe of Judah would produce kings.
The scepter will not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from his descendants,
until the coming of the one to whom it belongs,
the one whom all nations will honor.
How do we reconcile the apparent conflict of interest? Clarity comes later in 1 Samuel 8:5 the people demanded, ““Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king to judge us like all the other nations have.” The language changes a bit in 1 Samuel 8:19-20: But the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warning. “Even so, we still want a king,” they said. “We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.”
The desire for a king to go out and fight the nation’s battles is the key to understanding why the request was offensive. In Israel’s earlier history, it was God who had fought for Israel. God had defeated Egypt and her gods (Exodus 14-15), and he had brought Israel to the promised land in the form of an angel (Exodus 23:20-23). When Israel failed spiritually after Joshua died, the angel of the Lord forsook them, initiating the chaos of the period of the judges (Judges 2:1-5).
Having a king wasn’t the issue. Replacing God as military leader showed that Israel had not learned her lesson. There was no will to trust God with their security as Moses and Joshua had done. They wanted a tough guy. Their choice, Saul, looked the part (1 Samuel 9:1-2). God planned for Israel to have a king but one who had a heart that would trust in him. Eventually, they’d get one: David.
That will conclude this week’s lesson on another two insights from Dr. Heiser’s book “Mastering The Bible.” Next Worldview Wednesday, we will continue with two additional insights. I believe you will find each Worldview Wednesday an interesting topic to consider as we build our Biblical worldview.
Tomorrow we will continue with our 3-minute Humor nugget that will provide you with a bit of cheer, which will help you to lighten up and live a rich and satisfying life. So encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along with us tomorrow for another day of ‘Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.'
If you would like to listen to any of our past 1325 treks or read the Wisdom Journal, they are available at Wisdom-Trek.com. I encourage you to subscribe to Wisdom-Trek on your favorite podcast player so that each day’s trek will be downloaded automatically.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and, most of all, your friend as I serve you in through this Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.
As we take this Trek together, let us always:
I am Guthrie Chamberlain….reminding you to ’Keep Moving Forward,’ ‘Enjoy your Journey,' and ‘Create a Great Day…Everyday’! See you Tomorrow!