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The Bible Teaching Commentary on Genesis: The Book of Foundations

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Overcoming Anxiety: Finding Peace, Discovering God


The Theme of the Book of Judges

Taken from Judges 2:10-19

Cycle of Decline and Renewal among God's people

The Bible Teaching Commentary

Paul J. Bucknell

Judges Background | Judges Outline | Judges Theme | Judges Introduction

Purpose: Judges 2:10-19 introduces the theme of Judges: Decline and Renewal Cycle. A diagram of this cycle of Judges 2:10-19 is provided as well as a self analysis of where one is at in the cycle. Life change questions are also included.

The Judges Cycle
Self-Analysis of our spiritual state

Cycle of Decline and Renewal among God's people

This redemptive cycle is based on God's covenant that He made with His people on Mount Sinai. We see the pattern back in Egypt when they cried for help from the oppression and delivered them. No matter how far gone His people might be, when they come and cry out to Him for help, the Lord will surely come to rescue and deliver His people. (Judges 2:1)

Book of Judges Theme: Decline and Renewal � 2:10-19

Judges records in detail the falling away and return of God's people so many times that it is hard not to comprehend this cycle as this book's theme.

1) Be careful: The tendency to lose our love for God is a very real danger.
How have you been showing your love for God? Are you zealous or dangerously lukewarm? Reevaluate your spirit as you worship, read His Word and evangelize.

2) Turn to the Lord: We can grow and be restored to the Lord as long as we seek Him in our lives.
Are there any areas of your life that you have not sought the Lord? Perhaps you have given up hope on conquering these areas. Turn to the Lord now. Now is the time for full restoration.

The cycle accurately shows the changes that occur when God's people differently relate to God. We need to remember that things are not essentially any different for a Christian today. Today, a New Covenant is in effect, but it operates in a similar manner to the Old Testament pattern before us. Note this pattern here and elsewhere.

The Cycle of Decline and Revival

Judges 3:7-11


1) They knew not the Law (Judges 2:10)

Sin (7)


2) Forsook God and served Baal (Judges 2:11-13)

Servitude (8)


3) God delivered them into hands of enemies (Judges 2:14)

Supplication (9)


4) They cried unto the Lord (Judges 3:19)

Salvation (10)


5) God raised up a deliver (Judges 2:16)

Silence (11)


The Self Analysis of our Christian lives

Our task is to use this insight into the fall and rise of God's people to help us and others in our spiritual walk. For example, identify which part of the cycle you presently are in. What situation in your life confirms that you are in a certain segment of the cycle? What is the next step? What do you need to do to go back and be where you are supposed to be? Below are some questions you can ask yourself to test where you are at.

Self Analysis of the passion of a Christian or a local Church
Steps and Scriptures Spiritual Principles Questions for Evaluation
#1 Forgotten the Lord (2:10)

And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10).

Spiritual decay sets in the minute we don't depend upon the Lord. Self-reliance develops the moment we forget the Lord.

Religion without the heart leads to doing things that don't please the Lord.
Can a person just leave the Lord?

How will we first notice this dullness in our Bible reading, meditation, fasting and prayer habits?

If your heart seems to be slipping, what steps can you take to revive your heart?

#2 Forsaken the Lord (2:11-13, 17)

Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals, and they forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the LORD to anger. So they forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. (Judges 2:11-13,).

Spiritual slackness is always accompanied by spiritual distress. The greater the lack of righteousness, the greater the domination of evil. There is no 'neutral' stage. List the evil things that you are tolerating in your life?

Have you given up on trying to be good? You not only do evil but don't care anymore.
What kind of trouble will be coming your way? (See next point).
#3 God brings trouble (2:14-15)

And the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had spoken and as the LORD had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed. (Judges 2:14,15).

Many troubles in life come because of our sin. On the one hand we make ourselves vulnerable to the evil one, but we should realize our Heavenly Father is overseeing the process so as to call us back to Himself. Are you finding a hard time dealing with life no matter which way you turn?

Can you sense oppression in your life?

What about the life of your church?

Do you think this could be God's chastening hand upon you?

What evil have you done that might be bringing such consequences into your life?
#4 God raises up a deliverer (2:18)

And when the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. (Judges 2:18).

The Lord's covenant with His people means that even when they are doing evil things (13:1), He is already preparing for a deliverer (13:2-25). Amazing grace!

Be patient and wait for the salvation of God.
Are you desperate for help?

What have you tried to do to alleviate the problem?

Have you cried out to God?

#5 Restored to peace (2:16)

Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. (Judges 2:16).

What joy comes to God's people when they are liberated by God's deliverer! Oh that our hearts were always so vibrant and thankful.

But be careful. Satisfaction leads to self-reliance and discontent.
Are you thankful and satisfied?

Do you find yourself singing praise songs and enjoying the Lord's presence?

The Great Decline -- spiritual distressEstablishing Conditions for Growth

Growth is part of life. God wants us to grow. But there are conditions to growth. We can hurt new growth just as my kids have played around and stepped on the early leaves of my iris bulbs in early spring before I could shield them. Spring reveals new life. Life is inherent in nature just as God's love is with His people. There might be seasons but His love operates in all of them. His purpose is for them to do their very best.

Spiritual life is like physical life. There are natural growth principles. We need to discover them and preserve them. The OT historical books show us these principles. These principles are regularly repeated. Obedience brings joy and provision; disobedience brings oppression and lack. The many cases spread throughout the historical books and repeated in the Book of Judges, are begging us to rightly respond to God and be blessed.

Other related BFF articles

Themes to Genesis

Theme to Nehemiah

Book of Judges Index

General Judges Articles

Making the Right Life Decisions (Judges 2:1-5)
Judges 2:1: Intro/A. The Gracious Promises of God
Judges 2:2: B. Exacting Requirements of the Covenant
Judges 2:3: C. The Severe Response of God
Judges 2:4-5: D. The Superficial Response of the People
Judges 2:1-5: Bible Study Questions

Judges 11:29-40 The Joy of Sacrifice
Striving for Moral Purity - The Big Race : Overcoming Sensual Lusts
Judges 13-16 Playing around with God
Playing around with God (Judges 13-16)
Judges 13-14_A. Listening to God
Responding to Authority
Judges 14-16_B. Consequences of Life
Disciplining His Children
Judges 14-16 C. Desires not Restrained
Dealing with Lust
Judges 13-16 Bible Study Questions