One of the ways to practice theological interpretation–to show how Scripture functions for the Church–is to look for ways in which narratives describe the Christian life.
For instance, in Judges 1:1 the Christian life is described in terms of God’s people fighting against their enemies. The book of Judges opens with, “After the death of Joshua, the people of Israel inquired of the Lord, ‘Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?'”
Now, the difficult, critical part is for us to determine how this description works. In other words, how does God’s people fighting against the Canaanites describe the Christian life?
Part of the answer is found in the reason God gave His people for engaging in this battle. Earlier in the narrative, God made it clear that His people needed to rid the land of these enemies because of the danger of idolatry. God’s people could not withstand the temptation to worship the idols of the inhabitants of the land. Idolatry would threaten to ruin the nation of Israel as they continue to break the first of the Ten Commandments.
So, we might say that fighting against the Canaanites functions as an analogy of our fight against assimilating to the culture, especially to the worship of our culture. We don’t fight against resident pagans; we fight hard to keep our distance from the worship of their gods all the while we work hard in the Spirit to close the gap to love them and share Christ.
Let Judges frame the way you preach about the Christian life. You’ll find yourself talking about the “Canaanization” of the church (I believe that’s Dale Davis’ term) and remaining relevant throughout your series through Judges.
Preach well so God receives glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 3:21),
P.S. If you’re thinking about a Christ-centered approach to the opening plot of Judges, consider that Moses, Joshua (mentioned in v. 1), and every judge in Judges all point to our need for a Champion to fight a battle we cannot win.