Judges 2.1-23 gives us the story of an angel of the Lord who appears to Israel and rebukes them for their disobedience. This angel came from Gilgal (the place he was last seen in Josh 5.13) to Bochin (weeping) and this speaks of their failures and disobedience. Gilgal is a type of the cross and Bochin represents the apostasy the faith has been in since then (2000 years). This angel is clearly a manifestation of Yeshua before his incarnation. A “theophaby” is different than an incarnation and this is one of the many examples of this in Scripture. This angel (messenger) never says “Thus says the Lord” but speaks on his own authority.
Because of this disobedience the Lord did not drive the Canaanites out before them but left them as “thorns in your sides.” Paul uses this term in 2 Cor 12.1-10 to describe an adversary and those who abused him. After hearing this, Israel named the place they were in Bochin (weeping) and sacrificed there, but this was an empty ritual. There is no sign at this point they were ready to obey the Lord.
Judges 2.6-9 and the account of Joshua is not connected to the above account in v 1-5 but refers back to a meeting before Joshua died and when he divided the land (Josh 24.28). This is repeated here to show how far they had fallen since the days of Joshua when they obeyed the Lord. Joshua died at the age of 110 and they buried him in Timnath-heres meaning “portion of the sun” and was formerly Tinath-serah (extra portion). The generation that went into the wilderness died and there arose another generation that did not know the Lord or the great works he had done for Israel. This was due to a lack of proper teaching and this prepared them for accepting false teaching.
Judges 2.11-23 tells us that ignorance produces evil and Israel began worshiping the Baals and the Ashtaroth and they forsook the Lord. They had failed to destroy the Canaanites and now they are learning their ways. Of course the Lord was angry about this and he turned them over into the hands of their enemies. Wherever they went the Lord was against them. Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of their enemies, proving that even now the Lord is merciful. But they did not listen to the judges, and this foreshadows the world not listening and the rejection of Yeshua.
But the Lord had compassion on them and raised up judges and they will be a picture of Yeshua. But as a judge died, the people would turn again to corruption and acted worse than before. This is no different today and the Lord is no less compassionate. They would worship other gods and they did not turn away from their evil practices. They refused the Torah of the Lord and it was not done out of ignorance. His anger will be in proportion to their sin. The Lord will no longer drive out the nations before them that were left when Joshua died. This was in order to test Israel by them whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it or not (He will test their response). This refutes any idea that Israel’s victories were accomplished by their own strength.
In Judges 3.1-31 we are going to pick up some important concepts. In Judges 3.1-2 we learn an important concept related to spiritual warfare. The Lord left the the Canaanite nations to test Israel as we know, but this was also to teach the next generation who had not experienced any of the battles in Canaan about warfare. So, let’s touch on some concepts in spiritual warfare because it is one of the concepts in Judges.
The study of war is called the “Moreshet Karav” or the “heritage of war.” How do we fight spiritual battles? Look at what Israel did. Much of what passes for “spiritual warfare” today is not spiritual warfare. Warfare is the imposition of one’s will over another. What is the will of God? It is that we follow the Torah. What does the enemy try to do? Stop us from obeying the will of God, or the Torah. He will try to get you away from it by using various techniques. He want us to be lawless (anomos in Greek= “no Torah) like he is.
But here is they key to spiritual warfare. Following the Torah is how we fight spiritual warfare! Num 4.3 says, “From thirty years and upward, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service (the word is “tzava” and means warfare) to do the work in the tent of meeting.” The priests were working in the Mishkan and the Temple and this was seen as spiritual warfare. This word for warfare is also used in Num 4.23 and 4.30 also.
We need to know the Lord (Jer 9.23-24) not fight battles. This word for know is “yada” and this is an intimate knowledge (Gen 4.1; Jer 31.34; Hos 2.18-20; Hos 4.6; Matt 7.21-23) because we have discerned the truth and this gives us the capacity to know the Lord. The heart of God is for us to know him, but how? With our reason, logic and intellect. Feelings can deceive us. Yada (to know intimately) is the opposite of anomos (lawless). 1 John 2.3-4 tells us that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know him,” and does not keep the commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him.
What people do not realize is that we are in a war just as real as what we have been reading about in Joshua and Judges. We must “consider our ways” (Hag 1.7). Are we wasting time in our lives or are we building the house of God? We do this by studying the Scriptures to know the Lord. Every piece of truth we learn is like a brick in our wall. Do we want to be a wall or a door (Song 8.9? Do we want to be strong or weak?
Some think that studying spiritual warfare is a waste of time, but it is not something that you can just sit down and learn quickly. But warfare applies to every believer because we are in a war whether you want to be or not. Ecc 9.14-16 likens us to a city and it can be delivered by wisdom. Matt 13.45-46 and Job 28.18 speak about wisdom and how valuable it is. This wisdom can only come through the Scriptures, with the Torah as a foundation for our walls. If you want to have a sturdy wall and a protected city, you must understand the Law and the Prophets, and then build on that. John 5.39-47 says that the Jewish people did not believe what Moses wrote, and as a result did not believe in Yeshua because Moses wrote about him. As a result, if they don’t believe Moses they will not believe Yeshua.
When studying spiritual warfare we must look at the ancient battles that the Jews fought and apply what God has shown to our own spiritual battles. We also need to study the coming of the Messiah in the context of these battles that we will read about in the Scriptures because many of them will happen again. We also need to open up a better understanding of any passage that we will come across in our study of Tanak Foundations. Israel failed to keep moving forward and got into a lot of trouble with their enemies as we have already seen in Judges 2. We must build our walls and city (us).
If we have not progressed much over the years the enemy is going to hit us. We are going to see that exact thing in Judges as we move through, as well as the rest of the Tanak. The Lord will allow us to be attacked to teach us how to fight in spiritual warfare as we have seen in Judges 3.1-2. Everyone is either just coming into a battle, fighting a battle or coming out of a battle.
The Lord is a warrior and called “Adonai Tzavaot” in Hebrew meaning “Lord of the Armies.” If we don’t start learning about warfare we will be making a huge mistake. There are different fortifications, weapons, tactics and strategies that need to be examined. Warfare developed over the centuries from throwing rocks, to shields, to bows and arrows, to tanks, missiles and supersonic jets. Spiritually it will be the same with us. At first, we don’t know much about warfare. We win some battles but we need to progress in our knowledge of God and the Scriptures because the enemy won’t be throwing rocks after awhile. His attacks against us will get more sophisticated, so we better get with the program. We need to learn the Torah and the Prophets. There are those who say they believe but do not know the Torah and follow some other belief system. They think they are alright but they have been captured for a long time and think they are free. Then they get offended because you don’t believe in the same thing they do.
There is always a price to pay in spiritual warfare. Don’t ever think that there will be no casualties when you fight battles and stand up for the Lord. We may lose our family, friends, health through stress, jobs, finances and other things. We will be our biggest enemy, like the saying goes, “We have found the enemy, and he is us.” There are no “formulas” or repeated prayers (like the Prayer of Jabez hype a few years ago) to overcome the enemy. As you study the biblical battles, the Lord had Israel do different things all the time. The technique was never the same. Sometimes they marched around a city and the walls fell (Joshua at Jericho) and sometimes they had siege warfare (David at Rabbah).
Another concept to remember is don’t think the war is over because you won a battle. Why? Because we just got stronger and improved our weapons and the enemy will counter that. What we think are “weapons” are not really weapons at all, but “magic” in place of real weapons. Using “holy anointing oil” or “water from the Jordan” from some TV preacher is just magic. The “name it claim it” and “confessing things into existence” crowd like in the Faith Movement is just a false teaching from the enemy. Don’t waste your time in it. They are throwing rocks when they think they are shooting bullets. Everything in spiritual warfare must come from God (Lam 3.37). You can’t make God “jump through your hoops” like a circus lion. Remember, he is the Lord of the Armies” and Commander-in-chief.
We must see ourselves like a city with walls. When the enemy comes, and he will, there are certain things you must have in place to keep his battering ram away from your walls. He will try to penetrate us. We must mature in spiritual warfare and we can’t have a knife with an enemy who is shooting bullets. Don’t ever underestimate the enemy. We must develop our understanding of spiritual warfare and apply those concepts. So, as we move through Judges and the Tanak we will be picking up important lessons that we can apply to our own spiritual warfare. If you would like a detailed study in spiritual warfare, go to the teaching called “The Spiritual Warrior” and “The Spiritual Sniper” on this website.
In Part 3 will pick up with Judges 3.3-31.