Paul linked me to this very helpful online book the other day, when i lamented my lack of understand of the book of Judges. Most of what i'm about to write comes from that, and maybe a little bit from my own study!
1) Judges is about Jesus. Obviously. The whole point of the book is that we need a Judge that will neither be evil or die. And we've got one. We need God to choose our leader, our King, He needs to be God's man, God's anointed. And Jesus is. Judges screams for Jesus. Our hearts should cry to Him and for Him as we read. There was no King in the days of the Judges, we need a King, but not any old human king, God's King.
2) Linked to that, Judges seems to be a polemic against human leadership. Some of the Judges are a pretty shoddy bunch. Look Israel says (probably) Samuel, you're fools for wanting centralised, man made power, this is what it brings. Idol worship, civil war, needless slaughter. Maybe this is Samuel's tract against human Kingship. It shows us how much we need the Godman, how much we need Jesus to rule over us. No human king will ever do it well. Interestingly in Judges Israel is oppressed by foreign powers and rescued by God's judges, in the later history books Israel is oppressed by wicked kings from within and God 'rescues' them by the exile.
3) I see myself so much in Israel in this book. The cycle of sin-oppression-crying out-rescue-sin is pretty familiar. It shows me that my sin is gross. Cosmic treason. It shows me that God is gracious to provide a judge. And if He's gracious to provide Gideon (the mighty man who hid in the gleaning pit) and Deborah and Samson, how much more gracious and generous has He been to provide us with Jesus.
4) Judges gives deeper meaning to Ruth. I think. Israel wanted a King, it needed to be God's King, He had to come from Judah. And in Ruth 4 we see the Kingly line continued. We see that even in the darkest of times spiritually for a nation God's purpose is still at work. He is still planning to provide His King, the King. Israel's rejection of Him would not go unpunished, but they would not go unsaved. Through Boaz and Ruth comes Obed, then Jesse, then David...then Jesus. God is still perfectly at work in the darkest times.
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