Joshua and the Israelites were to take the Promised Land by entering westward over the Jordan River and then dividing the land in half. Then there would be a southern campaign and then a northern campaign to conquer all of the cities and peoples. Before he died, Joshua gave the nation a farewell address. He told the people to finish conquering the Canaanites. And to remember everything that they had seen the Lord do for them. He encouraged them to be strong and to obey the Lord. And then he warned the people to get rid of the idols in the land. In conclusion, Joshua challenged the people to choose: “Choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord.”
Main Events of Judges and Ruth:
Joshua led the Hebrews for about 50 years. He was the last of his generation, of the ones who had lived in Egypt, to die. So the tribes of Israel were comprised of people who had been born during the years of wandering and had seen God’s hand at work as they conquered the wicked people who lived in the land. Once Joshua died there was no leadership, no king, and no government. Each tribe did it’s own thing. They did not conquer the rest of the Canaanites as they were told to even though God sent messages to them to be obedient. Therefore God had the Canaanites stay in the land to test the faith of His people. And they failed miserably. The people fell into gross idolatry and gross immorality to the point that “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.”
The book of Judges spans about 400 years and during those years, there are many cycles of a certain behavior.
1) The people sin.
2) God send an oppressor/army/disaster.
3) The people cry out to God for help.
4) God brings about deliverance through a judge.
1) The people sin…etc. etc.
There are certain phrases that are repeated in the book of Judges. One is “everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” Another is “and the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.”
FOUR MAIN JUDGES:
- Ehud – went against the king of Moab
- Deborah – led against the Canaanites
- Gideon – went against the Midianites
- Samson – destroyed the Philistines
During the years of the judges, there was great sin and darkness. But God did not forget His promise to Abraham and He was at work through a young Moabite lady named Ruth. She was dedicated to her mother in law after the deaths of their husbands and she told Naomi, “Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. You people will be my people. And your God will be my God.” Because of her faithfulness and loyalty, and her belief in God, she was rewarded. God allowed her to marry an Israelite named Boaz. She had a son named Obed who had a son named Jesse. Jesse was the father of a little boy named David, who would one day slay a giant and be king of Israel. And this King David would be the one honored to have God bring about the Messiah from his family.
Life Application of Judges and Ruth:
So which would you rather be like? Like the Israelites during the years of the Judges, or like Ruth? The Israelites were disobedient people who called on God when they were ready to. Ruth was loyal and faithful. And she remained true to her family and to God despite the bad things that happened to her. She was rewarded by the God of the universe.