We live in a changing world.  Technology and communication advance unceasingly, the environment of the planet is slowly shifting, military, political and economic powers rise and fall.  It’s always been that way of course, and change has never been easy.

So we mustn’t under-estimate the huge significance of the changes taking place in the Near East as the people of God sought to inhabit the promised land after their escape from Egypt.  Archeology suggests that the visible signs of society at that time collapsed – there was a shift from a system of small, independent city states to a rise of empire. 

Israel herself was looking to defeat the peoples inhabiting Canaan and was involved in a number of battles and wars to achieve that end.  But they kept on losing the plot, a story told by the writer of Judges.  A repeated series of failures. 

Chapter 2 summarises the cycle.  “They abandoned the LORD,” (2:11), “so the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel and he gave them over to plunderers…so that they could no longer withstand their enemies,” (2:14), “they were in terrible distress,” (2:15), “then the LORD raised up judges who saved them…for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning,” (2:16,18) “but whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers,” (2:19).

It’s a cycle of rebellion, retribution, repentance, restoration and rest.  5 steps.  And it happens 7 times in the book.

Radical change.  On a regular basis.  Can we learn from this account of their experiences?  I think we can and I’m going to spend a little time over the next few weeks trying to do just that.