“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Judges 21:25
In the time of Moses, the Lord had delivered his people, the Israelites, from Egyptian slavery and harsh bondage. The Lord had powerfully brought them out of Egypt and led them to the land he had promised his servants Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Israelites were set apart from all the other nations of the earth and given the Law and the Ten Commandments to know the heart of God and how to live as his special people.
In the book of Judges, we read about the vicious cycle in which these Israelites found themselves. Without trusting in the Lord and being devoted to him alone, they quickly fell into the worship of idols and many unrighteous acts. As they fell farther away from the Lord, their sin led to their corruption, and their corruption led to their defeat of the enemies that surrounded them. Whenever they would fall captive to the king of another people, they would cry out to the Lord for deliverance and mercy, and the Lord would faithfully bring them back to freedom and peace. However, a few more years would go by and the cycle would start all over again. Peace turned into pride, pride turned into unrighteousness, and once again they found themselves defeated and oppressed by an enemy until they cried out to the Lord once again. They never fully trusted the Lord as the king of their life, but decided to do what they thought was best instead.
If you are anything like me, you may see some striking similarities between yourself and the children of Israel. As a Christian, I believe in the promise that Jesus has delivered me from the slavery of sin. He has given me his commandments so that I can know how I should live in victory and peace. Unfortunately, I can admit that I have allowed some sin to hang around in my life. These sins often become the object of my worship and devotion, much like an idol in the heart. When things start going well in my life, I might even be duped into thinking that I have this whole life thing figured out and don’t really need God to guide me. However, this pride always leads to my downfall. Without being completely devoted to God as my king, he allows me to be defeated until I finally cry out to him with the realization that he is my only hope. Let’s learn to break this cycle. As the people of God, let’s serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords and let him control our lives. Instead of doing what appears to be right in our own eyes, let’s surrender to his mighty hand and teach future generations to do the same.
written by Chris Hill