Judges Specifically 3:7-11, Generally 1:1-3:11
After the death of Joshua and the elders who served under him, the Israelites began to be influenced by the people around them and forgot their commitment to serve God. The Israelites began worshipping other gods: Baals and Asheroth. So the Lord became displeased and allowed them to be conquered by Cushan-Rishathaim of Mesopotamia as punishment. They had to serve this king for 8 years, then they finally called out to God and repented (or said they were sorry) and He raised up the first of what we call the Judges. The judges were leaders of the people of Israel between the death of Joshua and the first King of Israel (Saul). God brought these leaders when the people had made bad choices and were ready to repent and come back to Him.
The first judge listed is Othniel, the younger brother of Caleb. Othniel lead the people of Israel against Cushan-Rishathaim and they defeated him. Then we are told there was peace in Israel for forty years until the death of Othniel.
The important thing to learn from the time of Othniel, and all the judges, is that when we sin God may punish us, but He will forgive us when we repent and things will get better after that!
Have you ever done something wrong and then been sorry about it? Did it get better after you apologized?
Is there something on your heart you need to repent of right now? Take the time to repent, you will feel better!