Choices and their inevitable consequences. We just can't seem to get around them. Whether it's the food we choose to eat, the speed we choose to drive, the relationships we choose to enter, the people we choose to follow, or the habits we choose to form; we all live with the positive and negative consequences of our choices. Fortunately, God has provided us an "owner's manual" that can serve to guide our choices. The Bible contains stories of real people, their choices, and the resulting consequences.
The Books of Joshua and Judges are full of such stories – stories of courageous faith and miraculous victories as well as stories of deception and rebellion that spiraled into defeat and chaos. In these books we encounter heroes and heroines (some expected – like Joshua; and some unexpected – like Rahab) as well as examples of what can happen when God is ignored and people choose to "do as they see fit."
When studying the Book of Joshua, keep in mind that one major reason the book contains the particular event being studied is that it helped Israel understand how God had led them and how they had responded. The record of God's call to Israel rings loud and clear in the Book of Joshua.
The Book of Judges reveals how times of transition sometimes do not run smoothly. It tells of the time of transition in Israel "after the death of Joshua" (Judges 1:1). Uncertainty, external threat, and even chaos characterized this time of transition. Joshua was gone, and so was Moses. The tribes were no longer united under a single leader. Indeed, they were hardly united at all. They tended to function in a loosely-connected way, joined mainly by their worship of Yahweh.
In the Book of Judges, we basically see a repeated cycle. The cycle went like this: (1) the people sinned; (2) God sent punishment at the hand of foreign invaders; (3) the people cried out to God for help; (4) God raised up a deliverer to help them militarily. The cycle was then repeated, over and over.
Let this study remind you that the Bible is full of principles that can teach us how to make God-honoring choices. Be encouraged in your pursuit to choose wisely. "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).
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