“The main thrust of Judges, shot through with tragedy, is the cyclical failure of the covenant community, and how God intervenes to rescue them again and again. Initially, the people remained faithful throughout Joshua’s lifetime and the lifetime of the elders who outlived him (2:6).
But by the time that an entirely new generation had grown up—one that had seen nothing of the wonders God had performed, whether at the Exodus, during the wilderness years, or at the time of the entrance into the Promised Land—fidelity to the Lord dwindled away.
Syncretism and paganism abounded; the people forsook the God of their fathers and served the Baals, i.e., the various ‘lords’ of the Canaanites (2:10–12). The Lord responded in wrath; the people were subjected to raids, reversals, and military defeats at the hands of surrounding marauders.
When the people cried to the Lord for help, He raised up a judge—a regional and often national leader—who freed the people from tyranny and led them in covenantal faithfulness. And then the cycle began again. And again. And again.
Here is a sober lesson. Even after times of spectacular revival, reformation, or covenantal renewal, the people of God are never more than a generation or two from infidelity, unbelief, massive idolatry, disobedience, and wrath. God help us.”
–D. A. Carson, “July 19″ in For the Love of God: A Daily Companion for Discovering the Riches of God’s Word. Volume 1 (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998).