A Review of Tim Keller’s ‘Judges for You’

The cycle of sin, rebellion, pleading, and redemption repeats itself often, especially in the Book of Judges.  And in my life.  I have long held affection for this neglected Old Testament writing, maybe because I see myself so vividly on the every page.  That is why, when I heard that Pastor Tim Keller had written a commentary of sorts on this beloved subject, I jumped at the chance to read it.

Judges-For-You-by-Timothy-Keller

It is precisely that pattern that Keller explores but always with a Cross-centered focus.  Did the Judges that God appointed help?  Yes.  Sometimes by themselves like Othniel, Ehud, and Sampson; and sometimes as a team like Deborah, Barak, and Jael.  But the rub of course is this: the relief was ALWAYS temporary and not permanent.  And that is what makes the ministry of Christ to special to me, that unlike the Judges who did all they could to ‘save’ a rebellious people, their help only lasted as long as they lived.  But the help that Christ offers is everlasting, since He is everlasting.

A second theme that Keller explores that I found wonderfully enlightening is the idea of idolatry.  It is easy for us in the 21st century to look back some 3200 years or so and laugh at the lunacy of bowing to a wood or stone idol.  As if idols have become a thing of the past and we no longer need to concern ourselves with such precautions.  But when I examine my heart, I find idols.  A lot of them.  And as Pastor Keller points out:

“The people’s failure to take all of Canaan both resulted from and represented their failure to give God exclusive lordship over their whole lives.  It is not hard to see how this might happen today, as we believers live in a pagan world that offers us a vast array of alternative “gods”.  The greatest dangers, because it is such a subtle temptation which enables us to continue as church members and feel that nothing is wrong, is not that we become atheists, but that we ask God to co-exists with idols in our hearts.”  Ouch.

The book reads much like a devotional commentary and less like an expositional or exegetical commentary, which is fine if you understand that going in.  If you desire to know Judges better, this is a solid read for you.  If you lead a small group or Bible Study and need some anecdotal insight into Judges, again this is a worthy investment.  If you are a pastor and you would like to see how Pastor Keller approaches the text, I repeat my recommendation.  If you are in College or Seminary and you are working on a more scholastic study of Judges, then this would not be a good place to start.

Personally, I used it as a devotional companion as the chapters are not terribly long and the stories naturally segment the narrative so that if I didn’t pick it up for a day or two, I did not have to worry about remembering every detail that I had previously read.

About these ads

One thought on “A Review of Tim Keller’s ‘Judges for You’

  1. Pingback: Judges For You Blog Tour | Cross Focused Reviews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s