The book of Judges chronicles the reigns of twelve leaders (judges) whose temporary leadership over the confederation of Israelite tribes was both civil and military.
The book of Judges covers the approximate 400-year historical period from Joshua’s death (end of book of Joshua) to the establishment of a king over the Israelite tribes (book of 1 Samuel).
During this time Israel’s national and spiritual life descended into chaos and apostasy. As a result the Israelite tribes fought with their neighboring nations to retain control over the promised land that they had conquered and possessed as described in the book of Joshua.
The leaders in Judges demonstrated a variety of leadership strategies. In spite of the unique and sometimes questionable approaches to leadership of these judges, there is an underlying theme in the book of Judges that has relevance for our individual and collective spiritual lives.
The lesson to be gained from the book of Judges is that like the Israelite tribes possessing the promised land, we have to fight to maintain any spiritual victories we have achieved in our lives.
Christians have to make a concerted effort to sustain their salvation because there is an enemy of our faith: “Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9, ESV).
This dark power in the universe, the devil or Satan, has rebelled against God and attempts to enlist people to join in this rebellion, using any means to prevent or destroy people’s faith in God their Creator. As a result we must engage in constant spiritual warfare to safeguard our salvation, to maintain our spiritual relationship with God.
Christians can’t repent, recite the sinner’s prayer and receive salvation and then never pray again. Christians can’t read the Bible through and then put it away on the bookshelf.
Yet, it’s not a matter that you have to work to obtain salvation. You have to work to sustain the salvation you have already received so God can work His will through you.
In our individual and collective spiritual lives there is no such thing as the status quo! If you’re not progressing as a disciple or as a church, then you’re regressing. If you’re not moving forward you’re falling back. If you’re not gaining ground then you’re losing it!
You have to get up every morning, strap on your spiritual tool belt and get to work building and maintaining your faith.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13, ESV)