Judges - The Texture of Failure: Week 2

By Jacob Toman

Have you ever smelled good food? Does the smell take you to a special meal, celebration, holiday, or occasion? Good food can be such a delight to be around; it provides an aroma that is pleasing and exciting. But what about terrible food, rotten food, discarded food? Does it leave us with memories and reminders? As we continue to study the book of Judges, we get both good and bad moments that highlight the pleasure of following the Lord, and the utterly disgusting aroma of abandoning God’s ways.

Judges features several moments of retrospective flashbacks. These moments give summary statements about the characters involved in the book of Judges. The three main characters in the book of judges are: God, God’s people, and Canaan. For us today, we can see many helpful lessons for application from Judges by seeing ourselves as either following the Lord or following sin.

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We see several flashbacks in the first 3 chapters of Judges. Before the stories of Ehud, Othniel, Deborah, Gideon, and Samson are told, the book’s themes are established. Today we will be looking at three major themes in Judges - Israel’s Sin, the Lord’s deliverance, and the Lord’s rest.


“Israel did evil”           וַיַּעֲשׂוּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת־הָרַע

Read the following verses and ask the following questions:

Judges 2:11

Judges 3:7

Judges 3:12

Judges 6:1

Judges 10:6

Judges 13:1

  1. What does the author ascribe as the cause of the trials of the people of Israel?
  2. What are some of the consequences of these trials?

Each of the above verses acts as a bookmark or chapter heading in the flow of the book. With seemingly each generation there are defining moments that typify the people of Israel. God doesn’t abandon his people in the midst of their struggles; he provides in miraculous and wondrous ways that exceed expectation!


“The Lord Delivered”                     וַיִּתֵּן יְהוָה

Read the following verses and ask the following questions:

Judges 1:2

Judges 1:4

Judges 3:10

Judges 3:28

Judges 6:1

Judges 7:9

Judges 8:22

Judges 11:21

  1. Who does the author of Judges describe as delivering? (Hint - It’s not only God)
  2. What is it that is being delivered? (It’s NOT pizza)

We see that as the book of judges progresses, the theme of deliverance, and the provider of deliverance becomes of utmost importance. As the people follow the Lord, they look to him to deliver. When the people abandon the Lord, they look for others to deliver.


“The land had rest”              וַתִּשְׁקֹט הָאָרֶץ

Read the following verses and ask the following questions:

Judges 3:11

Judges 3:30

Judges 5:31

  1. What amounts of time are mentioned in each of the above verses?
  2. How do the statements of “The land had rest” compare with “Israel did evil”? Are they similar? Are they different?
  3. After God delivers Israel, what is the summary statement of what life is like after God’s deliverance?

As we continue to study the book of judges we will continue to see the tension between God, his people, and sin. There are some rough stories in Judges of terrible sin. In the midst of these stories of tragedy, let’s take encouragement that God provides for his people - for us - even in the darkest of hours.