Whenever the Lord raised up a judge over Israel, he was with that judge and rescued the people from their enemies throughout the judge’s lifetime. For the Lord took pity on his people, who were burdened by oppression and suffering (Judges 2:18 NLT)
O people of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries (Isaiah 30:19 NLT)
God hears us when we cry (Is 30:19) (paraphrased for younger children)
The Israelites had made it to the promised land, led faithfully by Moses and then Joshua. When Joshua was about to die, he charged them to choose to serve the Lord forever. Unfortunately, after he died, the people abandoned God. This began a cycle that reoccurred 7 times over a period of several hundred years.
These cycles can be labeled ABCDE Cycles. A cycle was:
Bondage to their enemies
Crying out to God
Deliverance by God
Ease in the Land
Download the PDF Cycles of Judges to make the picture above. Cut out a circle from a sheet of card stock. Then cut the individual circles out of regular paper and glue on the circle in the order they happened. Use this to visualize and explain the cycle the Israelites continually repeated. Emphasize God always heard their cry for help each time they got into bondage after having left Him. He always took pity on them, sent a judge to deliver them, and then gave them years of rest. When the judge would die, they would walk away from God, thus starting the cycle all over again.
We all follow similar cycles in our personal lives when we wander away from God and get bound up by things of the world. The lesson we should learn from Judges is clearly summarized in Judges 2:18 and stated in Isaiah 30:19 – God will compassionately and mercifully respond to our cry for help over and over and over no matter how many times we walk away from Him!! Lead your children to memorize these verses and declare that ‘God hears us when we cry’.
Read the book of Judges to see the record of the 13 judges sent by God to deliver the people, beginning with Othniel and ending with Samson. Tell in your own words the interesting stories about some of the judges; your children will love hearing you enthusiastically relate the way God miraculously used them to deliver the people from their enemies!
A fun way to reinforce this story is to draw a big circle on the driveway with sidewalk chalk. Then draw the 5 circles in the large circle. Jump from circle to circle as you talk about the cycle the Israelites went through. Do it over and over again – children love it.
Click here for some children’s books you can order about individual judges.
Click here for an excellent site to aid you in teaching children about the judges.
Don’t miss this opportunity to tell your children about the ultimate deliverer, Jesus Christ, who came to set us free from bondage to our sins and the punishment for them!
If you desire a more in-depth study of Judges for yourself, check out this site: