The Restoration of God’s Image of the book of Judges
White Young Jeon
The concept of restoration of God’s image relates to the redemptive ethic.
When we were born again in the Spirit and the Word, we have to learn the redemptive ethic, the life of true Christian by the special revelation in order to overcome the human ethic tendency in the actual life. Why? Because the pilgrim of Christian shall meet several temptation, sometimes by appearing the face of bright angels or, by appearing the face of horrible devil and also we were compelled to approach to the human ethic.
The book of Judges reveals the danger of human ethic and the glory of redemptive ethic in Christian life, the actual life of kingdom of God.
I will treat few themes in the judges for the restoration of God’s image as following themes, those are; the eternal leader, the Angel of Jehovah, the song of redemption in Deborah and the result of human ethic in Gideon.
- The Eternal Leader (Judger 1:1-10)
In the contemporary time the people focuses on the leadership to lead the church rightly. What is the biblical leadership? We can learn out of the historical books. Among them we can find the example of biblical leadership in the church. First of all we admit that real leader is our God, our Lord, Jesus Christ not the man. James 3:1 says “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. “
Who is our real leader? He is Jesus Christ. Joshua who occupied Canaan had died, but God who is the eternal leader of Israel works still. After 400 years, their faith was corrupted because they did not drive out the remaining tribes of the Canaanites completely and they were threated in the spiritual aspect. Then God established the judges and led them toward the purpose of God.
- Who controls the warfare that the text reveals?
- First, God Himself had controlled all warfare.
- When they asked “who is the first fighter in this battle?” the Lord showed the direction obviously to them. (1-2) God who commanded the fighting was with them. He himself is a warrior against his enemies and also he absolutely overcomes the war, for He Himself controls the warfare. In Rev 6:2 we find that Christ and His gospel overcome every war of Christian life. “And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer. “The rider in the vision points Christ and his gospel movement. Jesus Christ controls every war in our lives. Every war in the book of Judges had been dominated by Christ. It means that Christ Himself had taken the role of warrior in all.
- Among our spiritual warfare, our personal fighting is main point in our life. What is our spiritual fighting? It is not the fight of blood and flesh. But it is to sustain the intimacy fellowship with God by listing to his words and praying our need to God. Giving and taking are the main point in our Christian life. This is spiritual warfare. Then we find our real enemies those are; the Satan, the world and the sinful desire (Sarks). Among them Sarks is the most dangerous enemy in our Christian life because two enemies work at the outsides but this enemy works in the inside those are, the soul, the spirit and the emotion, the intellect and the volition.
And we can find the contesting point of our spiritual warfare. Where is it? It is the area of thinking. So the Scripture says repeatedly to us. In Rom8:5-8 we can find that teaching to us. “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”(Rom 8: ) When we take care of our thought, we can enjoy the special grace.
- When we study the Bible and the theology we should take care of our thinking before God. The function of thought is very important to know the truth rightly. How is it important in our lives? The Scripture says “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion rose against the knowledge of God, and takes every thought captive to obey Christ. (IICorinthian 10:4-5). “Here, what are they, argument, opinion, all thought? In a short word, it is our thinking function. Actually our thought is ourselves. What is the method to manage our thought very well? It is to depend on the thought of God, the Scripture deeply. We have to make us dwell in the Word of God. Do you and your thinking stay in the Word of God, or, you’re thinking? Especially if we remain in the secular thought in our heart. Many problems and many bad thinking shall be happened in our lives. So the Lord warned us to careful in our lives for the bad things came out of inside to the outside. Mark 7:20-22 points “For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” So we need to concentrate on our speculation and our thinking in our lives to overcome our inner evil.
2. Second, they overcome the warfare by following God’s command.
- Judah and Simon tribes destroyed the Canaanites and the Brithite and killed Adonibethek and occupied Jerusalem and Southern mountain (5-10) by obeying the command of God. The secret of their victory is to follow the order to the Lord. If they did not admit the authority of the Lord, they surely shall fail in the warfare. Obedience is the main key to overcome the spiritual warfare. Paul had pointed the important things of this warfare as followings: Ephesian 6: said that It is the fighting against the evil spirit and It is to stand firm up in Christ and to be equipped by Christ those are; the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of the truth, the sword of Holy Spirit, the shield of the faith and the sandal of gospel of peace. Simply these points to the obedience of the order of God. Every day we have to learn to obey the word of God in our warfare life. When I preached the word of God at a village house, I had explained the gospel by using the picture to the old man. He had great concern of Jesus. When we lead to the invitation place. Rooster cried out in several times and, two children made some noise. I felt that Satan attacked to our important time. Then I obeyed the direction of God. My duty was to proclaim the gospel. He accepted Jesus Christ as his savior. Already he became new person in his life. Whenever, we need to follow the direction of God. This is the obedience. The successful evangelism is to preach the only Christ to him and to commit the result to God.
- In our lives although we walk through the great valley, if we follow the command we can overcome all things. So we have to learn to enjoy obeying the Word of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded the great mission for us. “Go to all nations, make disciples and baptize them and teach the word of God in order to keep his teaching.” What is the only condition to get his wonderful blessing? It is to follow Him no turning back. Then we are very happiness in our lives.
3. Third, the Lord led coming and going of Israel by his will.
- Verse 2 says “2The Lord said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.” Moses, Joshua and the other leaders had died at their due dates, the Lord; Jehovah himself commanded their way in Canaanite life, the life of warfare. He commanded to Judah the priority of the warfare. And He guided the union of them for the successful warfare. Our leader leads us as his will.
2) The Lord is our Lord, Jesus Christ. Actually he is the Angel of Jehovah, who revealed before Joshua, led the warfare of occupying Jericho and helped Israel in the several battles until slaying all the Canaanite. The Lord leads us into the abundant life in our lives.
Ps 23: 1-3 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” And also Ps 126:1-6 says “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ The Lord has done great things for us; we are glad.” Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like streams in the Negev! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.
Why did they sow the seed with tear, weeping and struggle? Because they were so truthful, the will of God is stood firm in the soil of truth, faithfulness. Then we shall meet wonderful fruit in our lives.
Cambodia history proves that the good leader was very important for their great life in the family. We know that Pol Pot who was a dictator of Cambodia history killed many peoples. Now they taste the bad influence in our lives. And also Buda’s philosophy (teaching) influences to all Cambodia persons in their lives. When I proclaim the gospel to them they incline into the religious pluralism. That is very severing situation. One leader to lead the church in the earth is very important. Who is true leader in the history and in the contemporary? Only Jesus Christ must be a real leader. (John14:6) Who is your eternal leader? We should follow his guide as the good shepherd in our lives. In our school life, we should assure our leader is Jesus Christ and should serve him humbly and learn his attitude, his purpose and his method.
- The Angel of the Lord (Judges 2:1-10)
Both the beginner and the consummator of the restoration of God’s image, Christ reveals His identification more obviously to us in the book of Judges by the role of the angel of the Jehovah. The issue that Christ worked in the Old Testament is very important to understand the stream of the redemption in the history, the main source of the restoration of the image of God. I Corinthian 10:1-2 comment obviously to us the important stream. “For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” Christ who is Rock follows them always. The passage should apply to every event in the Old Testament. So we have to find the wonderful proofs out of the revelation in the Old Testament. Symbolism and typology should be interpreted by the perspective of redemption. Among them the Angel of the Lord in the text belongs to this stream.
The angel of the Lord who worked at Bochum and rebuked Israel was the unique angel, who was called for the pre-incarnated Christ. It is very wonderful fact that Christ worked in the day of the Old Testament for his people. What is the evidence?
First, because he revealed as the deliverer of Israel, we can admit it.
- Verses 1-2 say, “Now the angel of the Lord went up from Glial to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt and brought you into the land that I swore to give to your fathers. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you” He claimed that he himself saved the Israelites out of Egypt. Exodus reveals that the Almighty God, Jehovah God delivered them out of the miserable state. The Almighty God now appeared as the face of the angel of the Lord.
- In the day of Judges He was still working for his people. He who appeared as face of an angel was not a general angel. He worked as Almighty God. Actually He was the same to the commander of military, the same being who led the Israelite, appeared before Joshua to enter into Canaan. Who is he? Really He is the Christ before incarnation. Although Joshua passed away, He led his people without pause in the Egypt life, the wilderness life and the Canaan life.
- In the light of the New Testament Jesus Christ is with us eternally. (Mt.28:18-19) the lifted Jesus Christ works in his people, church or, Christians by the power of the Holy Spirit. What does he work in our lives? He accomplishes the redemption in His people personally and universally. Today the angel of the Lord works in our lives to accomplish the redemption.
Second, because He was the one who established the covenant and keep it faithfully we understand it.
- As the subjective partner of covenant, God Himself claimed that he establishes it. (1) The angel claimed the same authority of God. As we know, the general angels cannot be bowed down by the others. They always refused their worship for they are the servants who served his chosen people, the church. (Heb 1: )
- But this passage claim that He Himself is God. He has the authority of God. It is very wonderful expression. He was the same angel to appear to Gideon and Manoa, the parent of Samson. He was bowed by them and commanded to them. He revealed to Hagai by the well and to Abraham who was sitting down on the shadow of an oak tree at Mamre and to Jacob by the river Jabbok. Although they was appeared as several modes to them, He was the same Angel of the Lord who will be accomplished by Jesus Christ.
Why did he reveal to his people sometimes? In a word he establishes the covenant faithfully. Holy war was not a simple fighting to get the some territory or to sustain their inheritance. It had more important purpose, to get the heavenly territory, to accomplish the universal church in the world. So the small warfare of the Israelite in Canaan belongs to the great redemption of the church.
Third, because he affirmed that his command was the command of God (2) we have to admit the fact.
Their blessing and curse depended on the attitude of obedience to his command. So he is the Lord. It is surprised fact that Christ in the New Testament save the church of wilderness out of the sin and lead and provide the grace. Therefore we have to assure that only the one who obeys the Word of Christ who is the fulfillment of all symbolisms and all types shall be saved out of the miserable sins.
Such activities had prepared the foundation and background that God shall work to accomplish the great economy of redemption that will be blossomed by redemptive ethic in Christ. Next we have to examine the negative or, positive points through reviewing the ministry of Deborah, Gideon and Samson.
- The Song of Deborah (Judges 5:1-18)
The Lord of redemption that had worked by the several men and the variety events did not lead toward the human plan but accomplish the economy of eternal God in the beginning, the redemption of his own people. The harmony between His righteousness and his people’s obedience, the redemptive ethic was spread by Deborah’s song in the Israel. What Deborah and Barak, who tastes the victory of God praise to the Lord was an example of the glory of redemptive ethic.
What points do they reveal in it?
First. The man who does not devote himself to the sanctuary of God shall be destroyed absolutely. (2)
The enemy of Jehovah, the enemy of righteousness and the enemy of the Word of God cannot help himself to live the dark life as the tree behind the sun. When we devote ourselves to the spiritual warfare moment by moment, he can enjoy the devotional life to the Lord.
Second, the decision of Jael by passing over the human relationship was very precious.
Jael who was a pagan killed Sisrah, his husband’s friend because she saw the kingdom of God. Just like Rehab or, Ruth did, she could stand up in the camp of God because she see the glory of God. One who loves the Lord very much shall have the future hope and we shall be filled with living hope.
Third, what assurance did Deborah take? (Judges 5:19-31)
Deborah who had seen that God destroyed his enemy, according to the prophesy that Meros shall be cursed because of helping Jehovah, assured that only Jehovah accomplished the thing. (23)
How could she take such assurance? She had seen that God destroyed his enemy by the shaking of the earth that pointed the presence of God.(4-5) For the victory of spiritual warfare shall be gotten by putting on the whole armors. Deborah, Barak, Jael and Israel had obeyed the command of the Lord for the victory. The principle of victory of spiritual battle is to love the Word of the Lord with their passionate heart. The seven full armor of God that Paul pointed, salvation, righteousness, truth, evangelism, faith, and word and prayer stand firm on the devoted heart. (Ephesian 6:14-18) Let’s become the Christians as the dew of the early morning to our commander.
- The Redemptive Ethic & the Human Ethic of Gideon (Judges6:11-24)
1. The Redemptive Ethic of Gideon
1) Calling of Gideon (Judges 6:11-24)
The redemptive song reveals as the different mode in the Gideon’s whole life. Although he was good channel that God used in his life to reveal the image of God, His children were the evil channel by failing the accomplishment the redemptive ethic. Who called for Gideon as a judge and how did his response to his calling?
First, the Lord God, the subject of the redemptive ethic called for him as a judge. The angel of the Lord who called for Gideon was the Lord in verse 12, who was the pre-incarnate Christ. When Jesus Crist called his apostles in giving their mission (Mt 4:19), the Lord permitted the mission on the foundation of his calling. Redemptive ethic should be depended on the foundation of God for it comes out of God’s redemption. We have to make sure such two things, salvation calling and mission calling in the redemptive ethic.
Second, how did his response to the calling? First of all, he found a series of assurance. It means that he wanted to know the more sure sign, not a doubt action. One who had not doubted some things truly cannot take real assurance. ( Bavinck) As the result of his struggles, he got Jehovah Sarlom (peace of Jehovah) because he saw the presence of God on the altar.
2) The Condition of spiritual leadership (Judges 6:25-40)
Again the Holy Spirit revealed the condition of spiritual leadership, the redemptive ethic. What conditions does the good leadership have?
First, his calling of God should be sure in his heart. Although Gideon himself was very weak, God appointed him as the great warrior. (12) When we assure God’s calling obviously we can execute the mission joyfully until the end, because we know that the authority that committed the position is the God, the Lord of all in all.
Second, he needed the obedience of the Word. Gideon obeyed to crush the wooded idol of Asherah, he experienced the grace of Immanuel of God. The obedience is better than the miracle. (Luther) The life of the leader must sustain the consistent obedience.
Third, he should receive the fullness of Holy Spirit. In verses 33-40 when the spirit of Jehovah come on Gideon, he could assure the salvation and the answer of God to his prayer, because the work of the Lord is not to follow by his own will, but by the will of Holy Spirit. (Act 1:8) The spiritual leadership establish on the foundation of redemptive ethic. The redemptive ethic of Gideon, righteousness, mercy and faithfulness was established in Israel in Canaan by following the lead of Holy Spirit, the Spirit of redemptive ethic.
Then Holy Spirit revealed the criteria of discernment to accomplish the redemptive ethic in the Israel church in Canaan.
3) The Criteria of Discernment (Judges 7:1-14)
Through the method of God that overcome against lots of 300 million united military as a certain seashore sand we learn the importance of the unique faith of Jesus. Then there are three elements of discerning criteria in the text.
First, God commanded that the coward should come back to their home. The Lord works through the men of the faith and makes the men of the faith. (Heb11:6)
Second, God removed the people who fall down into the easy going attitude by bowing down on the ground and drank the water, just as the field that was picked by thorn, the man that failed into the temptation of money, worry of world and worldly pleasure cannot be used by God. In a word redemptive ethic is criteria of all discernment.
Third, only the awaking person as the persons who saw in the future in the text could be used in the spiritual warfare. Redemptive ethic needs the spiritual discerning function in the church. Only the people who have the redemptive ethic that they were prepared themselves as the faithful personality to living God and his word are able to serve the kingdom of God.
And also Gideon’s ministry revealed the method of redemptive ethic obviously.
4) The Method of God’s Work (Judge 7:15-25)
How did Gideon overcome his enemy?
First, he did not fight to his enemy according to the number. The purpose that God reduced 32000 to 300 was to make them learned the humble heart. This is the same method that happened in the miracle of five bread and two fish and in the movement of mustard and in the movement of Yeast to enlarge the kingdom of God. The small devoted persons can change the world.
Second, God worked through the obedience of spiritual leader. Gideon was the man of obedience. They could obey to the insufficient strategy that their leader commanded to them, because they knew that God Himself would fight against the enemy. And also the destruction of Jericho the city was accomplished by the principles of obedience.
Third, we have to believe that all victory belongs to the hand of the Lord. In the verse 7-8 the word the Lord transferred they come repeatedly. As we are fear of God of the Lordship, we can overcome every enemy. Until now we observed that the positive points of redemptive ethic. Furthermore, we see the importance of redemptive ethic negatively in sustaining victory by observing the inner victory of Israel.
2. The Human Ethic of Gideon
What is the true victory (Judges 8:1-17) in the spiritual life? Human ethic is most dangerous enemy that comes out of the sinful desire in Christian life. We find that although Gideon had the redemptive ethic in his life and his ministry but the human ethic was controlled in his family life. His external victory should bring the inner victory, the changing of his personality as the fruit of redemptive ethic.
First, the complains of Ephraim tribe (1-5), Succoth people (5-7) and Penuel (8-9) broke the harmony of Israel. The Christian should keep the oneness of Holy Spirit. This is the way to please God. (Eph4:3). We have to put more power in the inner victory than the external victory. One who controls his heart is the greater warrior than the one who occupies the seven towns.
Second, God solved the crisis through the wisdom of Gideon. He calmed down their fury with the meek word and rebuked Succoth and Penuel who refused the fighting. The man who was devoted himself to the Lord shall have a problem about the love. So Paul declared that if anyone does not love the Lord wholeheartedly shall be cursed.
The human ethic is not the fruit of Holy Spirit but the fruit of our Saks (the sinful desire), confronting the kingdom of God and finally shall make us to fall down the death.
As the restoration of God’s image in Joshua revealed, the restoration of God’s image in the book of Judges reveals same stream but more progressively by revealing the elements of redemptive ethic in the background of dark chaos in the valley, in the fivefold of evil circuit of rebellion, corruption, discipline, salvation and peace. Actually this stream reveals our actual Christian life in the world. To accomplish the redemptive ethic is our mission in our life. So Jesus Christ warned the hierocracy and to devote ourselves to faithfulness and trustfulness before God personally. “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “(Matthew6:6)