Broken people need a king

Published 12:12 am Saturday, October 17, 2015

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

Those of you who are Christians have your favorite parts of the Bible. That’s just natural. But the Bible also says that we are to love and teach “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

Yet we often ignore or skim over the Old Testament. We forget that it was the Bible Jesus read, and that the Old Testament points to him. In fact, when we delve into the Old Testament, it greatly increases our love for Christ, and our understanding of the whole Bible as One Big Story of redemption.

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Right now our church is in the middle of a series called, “Broken People, Faithful God … A study of Judges.” Judges is sort of a wild and crazy book that we often gloss over. It is earthy. It is often violent, and strange. But it is relentlessly fascinating.

One Old Testament scholar, Dale Davis, says this of Judges: “Only people who take tranquilizers before sitting down can doze off while they read it.” Judges is anything but boring!

It is filled with spellbinding stories and colorful characters like Samson, Deborah, Ehud, and Gideon. But the fact that it contains so many heroes and heroines presents a danger to the reader: We can come away with the idea that human beings are the center of the story.

In fact, human beings are exposed in all their sin and selfishness in Judges. The real Hero of the story is God Himself. Judges is about broken people and a faithful God.

But why is it called “Judges,” anyway? When we think of judges in our culture, we are thinking of men and women who wear the dignified black robe of the courtroom. That’s not what the “judges” in Judges do.

The judges in Judges are called “deliverers” or “saviors.” They were men and women that God raised up to lead Israel through a very perilous time in its national history.

Time and time again during this period, God in his grace raised up a “judge” to deliver his people out of the hands of an enemy.

Originally, Judges was written to reveal the need of the ancient Israelites for a king. Twice, this central text is repeated: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:25).

That’s chilling, isn’t it? Israel needed a king. It is also contemporary — we live in that kind of a culture today. We need a King, too. No, not the kind of king we fought to be free from in the Revolutionary War. We need the King of kings to reign and rule in our lives.

You see, God was eventually going to provide kings for Israel. Yet even the greatest of the kings, King David, was a flawed human being who could not deliver Israel from its deepest problem.

The deepest problem of the ancient Israelites is also our deepest problem — slavery to sin. The “deliverers” of Judges could not solve that problem. Neither could the kings.

But there is a Deliverer and a King who can. His name is Jesus Christ. He died for you, rose from the dead, loves you, and is calling you to turn to him in repentance and faith and experience his life-changing reign.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.