When it comes to preaching the book of Judges, most preachers can relate to the writer of Hebrews who stated: “I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah” (Heb 11:32). Judges gets ignored for a variety of reasons. One is that we’ve lost touch with stories, including Bible stories. In evangelical circles, we do well in the New Testament epistles, and well we should! But Old Testament narrative is a foreign land. A second reason is that we sell short the stories of Judges, forgetting that the book is considered a “former prophet” in Jewish tradition. Third, we are uncertain about how we can preach grace and gospel in a book that a preacher-friend describes as “one dark, hoary tale.” After all, the theme of Judges is “the Canaanization of Israel.”[i]
Its overall message is that God’s people self-destruct when they disobey God and get their values instead from their pagan neighbors.