Quite honestly it feels like we’re living in a form of the book of Judges. Mainly as the main theme of Judges is “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” or as another translation says, “everyone did whatever he wanted” (Judges 21:25).
Ugh. Where to begin.
1) It’s deadly when everyone does “what is right in their own eyes”
Why? Because everyone has a different compass for morality. I used to work in prison ministry and child rapists would say that they were “teaching children about love.” Gangsters killed “because they were wronged.” And it goes on and on and on.
Nothing is different than when we determine our own morality. Everything is chaos. Objective morality is present, real and a necessity. And it is determined by God, not man. Otherwise, there is no such thing as wrong. Because who is to say what is wrong for me is not wrong for you?
The reality of evil tells a different story. There is such a thing as wrong, evil, crime, etc…
2) Sexual sin was a constant enticement that leads to even more depravity
It’s ad nauseum what happened with the Israelites. Over and over and over they worshiped and served the Baals and Asherahs. Why? Because these were the god/goddess of fertility and lust.
They were also the gods that lead to the sacrifice of children. And that is awful.
If we see anything in Judges, it’s two things in particular that are desecrations of the sacred that bring judgment to the people–sexual immorality and the harm to babies.
3) God allows discipline for judgment
People who don’t serve God because he is “judgmental” are also often angry that God doesn’t intervene when there’s suffering. God’s judgment is his justice against evil because evil always has victims. And sometimes God says enough.
For the Israelites, they were often subjected to their enemies for a number of years. Paying tribute, getting bullied, etc… This was God’s judgment until their oppression grew so heavy that they cried out to the Lord for help. Sometimes unfortunately, it’s only when we feel the pain of our disobedience and suffering that we get right with the Lord.
4) God uses the many or the few to accomplish his purposes
As Israel grew worse and worse and their sin was ever in the spin cycle, it almost seems like God used less and less people to deliver them. It was Israel, then a part of Israel, then the 300, then the 1. When God delivers, he does it His way so that man will look to him and not boast on his own deliverance.
5) When we are in sin, God is longing for our repentance
The Lord does not like to bring judgment and discipline any more than a parent does. He is longing to show His mercy. But those who abuse His mercy will again have to face those consequences.
6) Nations and People need Leadership to Lead in What is Right and Punish What is Wrong
It just is the way it works. People need leadership. And they need leadership to stand up for what is right and stand up for what is wrong. What went bad was when there was no leader.
7) Sometimes God has enough
The sin cycle for the time of the judges reached a pinnacle. They had done this for several hundred years. Soon the Lord would sent them into captivity as they weren’t ever truly changing.
In so many ways we are moving into a season similar to what we read in the book of judges. People are doing right in their own eyes, even God’s people, there are issues with sexual immorality in many forms, harm to babies also in many forms, and even as I speak people are rioting to throw off government oversight into everyday issues.
This story can’t end well. It didn’t for the Israelites, and it won’t for us.
The hope is that maybe, just maybe we will get to the place where things are so bad we cry out to God. From the reports I am hearing, it may just be starting to happen.