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Today in Judges, we close out one of the darkest and most bizarre chapters in the history of Israel.
As we have seen in this book, time after time God raised up “Judges” to deliver Israel from their enemies. And each time we are confronted with the revealing of their unstable and unconverted hearts.
4 times the author reminds us there was “no king in Israel” – with the result as 21:25 has it: “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
Left to themselves, without a man to lead them in right ways, they stubbornly refused to follow God individually. And every nation in human history has followed this identical pattern.
In the flow of the Old Testament narrative, Judges sets the stage for God to finally give Israel an earthly King. But we must be careful how we understand that. Let’s not be unaware that human government as established by God, is a mark of His grace in responding to our wickedness.
It is always second best.
As God will tell Samuel later when He does give them their first King: “They have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.” (1 Sam. 8:7)
The truth is, we come more and more under the bonds of human government, the more we fail to serve God individually. So Solomon can write in Proverbs centuries later: “When a land transgresses, it has many rulers.”
So, when the text notes those 4 times they had no king over them, “No King” is right, not even God.
As a result, what a mess Israel becomes – adding one bad decision upon another. Moral confusion reigns. Sticking rigidly to oaths they should never have sworn, and then compounding their foolishness by convoluted reasoning and machinations that are as absurd as the events that precipitated them.
Sounds rather contemporary to me.
When men do not serve God, and instead serve their notions of God and what is right and wrong from their misguided and invented constructs – havoc ensues. Society crumbles. And governments multiply laws and all kinds of strictures to try and rein in sinfulness and give society some measure of order – as convoluted as it is. But all doomed ultimately to fail.
Governments can address some actions, but not hearts in rebellion against God.
No one sought the Lord then. And the less people seek the Lord now AS their Lord – the more our own society will cave to everyone doing what is right in their own eyes. And the dreadful, confused, mad, tragic and gruesome kinds of events and circumstances we witness in Judges, will be replayed – ARE being replayed in our day and place.
This is why the preaching of the Gospel remains our great imperative and hope.
Why not just the prayers of the saints, but the lives of the saints lived under the Lordship of Christ – rather than doing what simply seems or feels right in our own eyes – is so vastly important. Why the Church must lead the way.
When Christians, when the Church imbibes this same spirit; when self-styled religion replaces the faith, once for all delivered to the saints – we actually lead the way into the chaos that ravages society.
Why does the gruesome, abominable, wholesale slaughter of babies persist among us in abortion?
Why does the tragic confusion of transgenderism proliferate along with 1,000 other societal ills?
Because we have no king – certainly not King Jesus – and everyone does what is right in their own eyes.
Oh that our God may be pleased to revive us in our day – that we are fully restored to God being our God, and we His people.
Let that sink into your soul today.
God bless, and God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.