Judges 19-21, part 2
Judges 19-21, part 2
by Pastor David
Last week, we began to answer the question “What is Judges 19-21 in the Bible for?” My first suggestion was to look for clues in the context and text. Repeated phrases, recurring themes, and obvious similarities in the stories have already pointed us to the absence of a king and the utter spiritual bankruptcy of the nation of Israel.
A second key question to ask is, “how does this fit into the story of redemption?” Other ways to phrase the same question might be, “how does this story point to Jesus,” or “how is this story connected to the Gospel?” There’s a very simple reason this question is key if we’re going to answer why Judges 19-21 is here. That reason is that all of Scripture points to Jesus. “Every story whispers His name,” to steal a quote from a great children’s story Bible. Our Old Testaments are a constant sign post pointing forward to Christ, the Gospels point directly at Him, and the rest of the New Testament after the Gospels points up to Him. If we read our Old Testaments apart from God’s gospel plans, we read it without hearing the Spirit’s intended purpose. If we read without Jesus in view, we’re not reading as Christians. We might be historians or scholars or Jews, but we’re not reading what the Holy Spirit meant to communicate.
We could come to this conclusion if we just read the Bible as a whole. But on top of that, there are even specific New Testament passages that teach us this is how we should be approaching our Old Testaments. When the resurrected Jesus talked to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, He began “with Moses and all the Prophets and interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” When Peter preached his message at Pentecost, it was the Old Testament that he repeatedly quoted. When Philip explained Isaiah to the Ethiopian eunuch, he “told him the good news about Jesus.” When the newly converted Saul/Paul preached to the Jews, he proved that Jesus was the Christ from the Old Testament. It’s not only improper to read the Old Testament without the lens of the New, it’s impossible.
So how does Judges 19-21 fit into God’s plan for redemption? How does it point to Christ? One, it sets the stage for a transition to a kingly line. The establishment of the monarchy was a drastic, momentous change for the Israelites. The priesthood had proved unable to lead the nation effectively; so too had the Judges. It was time for a king. Inevitably, however, even the kings would prove to fail and disappoint. But there was One King who was coming, and He would not disappoint. He would come into the broken, sinful nation and provide the only lasting and effective remedy to their gross sin. When Judges 19-21 transitions us into the kingly era of Israel, it’s actively moving us closer to King Jesus’s rule and reign. Secondly, Judges 19-21 points to the Gospel when it exposes the total depravity latent in us all. The sins of Judges 19-21 are truly awful, but they are not truly unique. The same lusts, selfishness, unkindness, and disobedience is in every human heart, even if it’s not acted out. Judges 19-21 ought not make us feel smug in our moral superiority. It ought to make us cry out with desperation for a Savior who can rescue us who stand in line for the same condemnation and wrathful punishment. So find the Holy Spirit’s purpose for Judges 19-21 by asking how He means to point us to Christ and God’s redemption plans. These chapters are just a few more pieces in the beautiful tapestry of salvation that begins in Genesis 1 and culminates in a bloody cross.