Last week we began looking at some of the unlikely heroes in the book of Judges. The book of Judges is full of some very colorful characters and provides some of the most fascinating and bizarre stories in the Bible. If you’re ever read through the book of Judges, you know what I’m talking about. It is one of the most graphic, violent books that you’ll probably ever read. So why in the world are we talking about it in church! Why is it even in the Bible?
Well, the book of Judges is an important historical record for us that shows us exactly what happens when people abandon the Lord. The moral depravity and chaos that comes when each man does what’s right in his own eyes is a shocking and sobering reminder to us all. But at the same time, the book of Judges gives us hope. It show us a God who merciful and kind. It shows us a God who takes pity on the very people who have abandoned and rejected Him. It shows us that we have a God who is mighty to save. So I’d say that’s certainly worth looking at!
We looked last week at the story of Ehud and how, after the Israelites abandoned God and were worshiping idols, God allowed the Moabites to oppress them. Well, that went on for about 18 years until the Israelites finally repented and called out to God. God answered by sending them Ehud. And the Bible describes Ehud as being a ‘left-handed’ man – which could have meant he had an actual physical disability in his right hand or at the very least, being left-handed in that culture was perceived as a weakness. There was something wrong with you. And yet, it was because of this ‘weakness’, that God was able to use Ehud to free His people from the oppression of the fat Moabite King Eglon. And I won’t recap the whole story, but if you missed it, you can find it in Judges chapter 3.
Now you’ll remember that we talked about the cycle of sin in the book of Judges. Israel would sin, God would send an enemy to oppress them, the people would cry out to God, and God would have mercy send them a rescuer (aka a judge) and he would rescue them. However, as soon as that judge died, the people of Israel would go right back to sinning and the cycle would begin again.
And as we can see in Judges chapter 4 – that is exactly what happened after Ehud died. The cycle began all over again. So that’s where we start today – Judges 4, Verse 1.
After Ehud’s death, the Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight. 2 So the Lord turned them over to King Jabin of Hazor, a Canaanite king. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-haggoyim. 3 Sisera, who had 900 iron chariots, ruthlessly oppressed the Israelites for twenty years. Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help.
There’s that pattern. Ehud dies and Israel again does evil. So God turns them over to King Jabin and his army commander, Sisera, who oppress Israel for 20 years and then finally, the Israelites cry out to God for help and He again sends them a rescuer. We continue in verse 4: