Dealing with a Nation’s Sins

KEY VERSE: “When the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the Judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge.” —Judges 2:18


FROM the Exodus to the death of Joshua, the nation of Israel was held in restraint by a consistently righteous leadership; a leadership upon which God manifested his favor and in support of which he used his power. It was challenged, as in the case of the two rebellious sons of Aaron, but the Lord demonstrated whom he was using, and generally speaking, the people rendered at least nominal obedience both to Moses and to Joshua, although they frequently complained.

But when Joshua died, the situation began to change. Throughout the days of Moses and Joshua, and through these stalwart servants of righteousness, the Lord had manifested his love for the Israelites, and his ability to care for them. However, with the passing of Joshua, the entire generation o f which he was a part also soon died, “and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the Lord, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel.”

Concerning this generation which did not know God, the record is that they “did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim.” Those who truly know God want to serve and obey him; and with such there is no need that they be held in restraint by fear, either of eternal torture or any other dire punishment. Under Joshua’s leading the people knew God, and knowing him, they served him. But the new generation sought after and served other gods because they did not know Jehovah, the true God.

Even under the iniquitous conditions which developed, the Lord did not entirely forsake Israel. When they departed from him he allowed them to fall into difficulties for their punishment; and then, in his own due time, he raised up judges to deliver them. This era in their national experience lasted for 450 years, and is known as the period of the judges.—Acts 13:20

Judges 21:25 reads: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” One needs but to read the Book of Judges to discover the low standard of righteousness which ‘every man’ considered to be ‘right in his own eyes’. It reveals clearly the degradation into which the human race even at that time had fallen, the low plane of morality to which human minds will revert if, en masse, the people are allowed to find their own preferred level. True, individual encroachments upon each other in the sense of theft and murder may not have been as prevalent then among the Israelites as it world be today in a large city left unpoliced; nevertheless, the general course of the nation was downward deeper and deeper into sin. This illustrates the necessity of the ‘iron rule’ which will be imposed upon the people during the Millennial Age, and the disciplines which will be associated therewith.—Rev. 2:27

The judges whom the Lord raised up really became their deliverers. These are used in one of the prophecies as typical of the earthly phase of Messiah’s kingdom. We read, “I will restore thy judges as at the first and thy counselors as at the beginning: after thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city.”—Isa. 1:26

Because of the service rendered to the Israelites by the judges whom the Lord raised up to deliver them, we may well understand the foregoing prophecy to mean that the Lord, through the agencies of the kingdom, will judge and deliver Israel and all nations from the oppressive hands of sin and death, turning to them a pure message of truth.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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