MARCH 12 The Book of Judges continues the story of Israel after the death of Joshua. It is a book of defeat and disgrace. Chapter 2:10- 19 summarizes the entire book--blessing, disobedience, chastening, repentance, and deliverance. Judges is the book of incomplete victory; the story of failure on the part of God's people to trust His Word and claim His power. In chapters 1 and 2 we see at least three failures on the part of the nation. While verses 1-18 of chapter 1 record the early victories of Judah and Simeon, the remainder of the chapter is a record of repeated defeats. What began as a series of victories, led by the Lord, ended in a series of compromises! Of course, they were able to rationalize their failures by making slaves out of the heathen people, but this only led to further trouble. Besides their failure to conquer the land, they also failed to consider the Law and this, of course, was the reason for their repeated failures and defeats. The nation followed the Lord during the years of Joshua and the leaders that followed him; but, when they were dead, the nation backslid (see chapter 2:10). The people had not even won their own children to the Lord! They had even failed to teach them the Law! How often this happens to nations, churches, and families. How easy it is for the "younger generation" to fall away from the Lord, if the "older generation" is not faithful to teach them and set the best examples of obedience before them. The third failure of the people was their not cleaving unto the Lord. They forsook Him and followed other gods; and, as a result, God forsook them. He "sold them" into the hands of their enemies time after time. Instead of enjoying the "rest" God had promised, the nation was in and out of slavery for hundreds of years, with only occasional periods of "rest" from the Lord. When the judgment became so severe that the nation finally did cry out to God, only then would He send a deliverer. It is sad to say that the people would turn to the Lord only when in trouble; once the Judge was gone, the nation would fall back into sin again. How typical of human nature!