Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruthby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we will consider 2:1—3:6. Before we come to these verses, I would like to say a word concerning the intrinsic significance of this portion of the Word.
We have seen that at Mount Sinai God entered into a marriage union with Israel and that He wanted her to remain in the most intimate contact with Him in this marvelous marriage union. But Israel rejected God as her Husband and as her King and “went about as harlots after other gods and worshipped them” (2:17). In dealing with this situation, the King became a servant, as the Angel of Jehovah, to admonish the children of Israel (vv. 1-5).
The Angel of Jehovah is spoken of throughout the Old Testament, from Exodus 3 through Zechariah 3. The Angel of Jehovah is also mentioned in Judges 2 and 6. The word angel is capitalized in these instances because this Angel is a particular Angel. The Angel of Jehovah is just God Himself in His Divine Trinity serving His elect as a Servant.
When Moses was being called by God to lead Israel out of Egypt, the calling Jehovah became the Angel of Jehovah. In Exodus 3 the names Jehovah and the Angel of Jehovah are used interchangeably (vv. 2, 4). The embodiment of the Triune God is Christ, and Christ is the Angel of Jehovah, who took care of Israel as the acting Jehovah in the Old Testament. Christ is the acting God, not a silent, passive God. For Christ to be the Angel of Jehovah means that God has appointed and commissioned Himself in His Divine Trinity to act in caring for His people.
Because Israel did not act as a proper wife, the very Jehovah who was the Husband, the Head, and the King of Israel became a Servant to His wife. This means that He did not come to her as a Husband, Head, or King but came to her as the Angel of Jehovah, who was sent by Jehovah (Zech. 2:9-11). Since Israel did not consider Jehovah as the Head, He became a Servant to serve her. His admonition in Judges 2 was the admonition of a servant.
With respect to Christ as the Angel of Jehovah, let us review what is revealed concerning Christ in the four Gospels. In the Gospel of Matthew Christ is presented as the King, and in the Gospel of Mark the King is presented as a Slave. The King-Savior thus became a Slave-Savior. In the Gospel of Luke the Slave-Savior is presented as a Man-Savior in His human virtues with the divine attributes. However, He is more than just a man; He is also God. Therefore, in the Gospel of John He is presented as God (1:1). He is the eternal God who became flesh (v. 14). Our Savior, therefore, is a God-man, who is both a King and a Slave. This is the intrinsic significance of the four Gospels.
Our God wants to save us and be our King, and we need to acknowledge Him as our Head and King. In order to save us, however, the King had to become a Servant and a Slave. As a Slave He is both God and man. He is a man, but His substance, His very essence, is God.
In His divinity God is our King and Head. Because our situation was so poor, the King had to become a Servant to serve us. The Servant sent by God in Judges 2 was actually Jehovah Himself in His acting situation. He did not come to rebuke or command; rather, He came to admonish and to take care of Israel. This is the significance of the Angel of Jehovah in Judges 2.
Having seen the intrinsic significance of 2:1—3:6, let us now consider this portion in some detail.
In 2:1-5 we have the admonition of the Angel of Jehovah, who, as we have seen, is Christ as the acting Jehovah in the Old Testament taking care of Israel (Exo. 3:2-10; 14:19; Judg. 6:21).
In verses 1 and 2a the Angel of Jehovah reminded Israel of three matters. First, He reminded them of Jehovah’s delivering them out from Egypt and His bringing them into the promised land (v. 1a). Second, He reminded them of Jehovah’s faithfulness in keeping His promise to them (v. 1b). Third, He reminded them of Jehovah’s charge to them that they should not make a covenant with the inhabitants of Canaan and that they should tear down their altars (v. 2a).
In verses 2b and 3 the Angel of Jehovah gave a warning to Israel. First, He told them that they had not listened to His voice, and then He asked them concerning what they had done (v. 2b). Because Israel did not listen to Him, He went on to say that He would not drive the Canaanites out from before them, but they would be like thorns in Israel’s sides, and the gods of the Canaanites would be a snare to Israel (v. 3).
Verse 4 tells us Israel’s reaction to the words of the Angel of Jehovah. The people lifted up their voice and wept. Thus, they called the name of that place Bochim, and there they offered to Jehovah (v. 5).
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