Closing the book on Judges today….sigh


Greetings and Happy Monday!

We had a full weekend and were scattered hither and yon with a variety of activities that had a lot of our family traveling to separate locations via all manner of transportation. Our Friday weather was beyond dicey, and so today as we all settle into our regular routines, it is with a bright sunny sky and the promise of temperatures in the 60’s. 

Much better than a March snow storm that wreaked havoc everywhere so we will take it gratefully. 

I finished the book of Judges this morning and started the first chapter of Ruth. Every time I read through the Bible and work through Judges I cringe to think of people who have never read the entire Bible but have chosen to do so that year with my encouragement. 

It is painful and sad and the worst of the worst in the whole Bible. If God wanted to present a more appealing picture of the story of Israel, He definitely should have left this book on the cutting room floor. 

But He didn’t. 

He included the progressively degrading level of the most debase of humanity, culminating in the final three chapters that is so bizarre I have no words to even attempt to explain it. 

The whole sordid account in Judges 19-21 is like one of those terrible movie plots where even the characters that are sort of the good guys are still so reprehensible that you feel like you have no one to cheer for and you are completely disgusted by the entire cast.

Interestingly the opening line of Chapter 19 is echoed and expanded on in the closing of the book of Judges, and that is why it is good to read the Bible and why God leaves even the worst of it for us to see. 

Chapter 19, verse 1 begins with these words: In those days Israel had no king. 

From there it jumps into a nightmare story and ends three chapters later with this conclusion: In those days Israel had no king, everyone did as they saw fit

Now, spoiler alert, eventually Israel will get a king. His name is Saul and he is not a good king. He is succeeded by David, who was the greatest King of Israel but not without beaucoup flaws and failures. 

And then from there, the Kings of Israel and eventually the divided nation that includes a King of Judah, cycle from okay to evil and back again at levels that will make your head spin. 

So be clear, the problem with the degradation of behavior and activity that is the woeful tale of the time of the judges is not because the people didn’t have a human king. 

The trouble is they had no authority over them that was good because they had rejected God as their King. They had turned away from him being sovereign and Lord over their lives and their nation and they came to a place where each person had decided their own code of behavior, morals and ethics and the result was chaos. 

God does ordain human leaders over nations because we can’t all, individually, set the laws for everyone around us. There is an order that needs to be in place. However, when you have people, you will always have the potential for flawed leaders at best and corrupt leaders at worst. 

But God is above  all of this. 

So keep your eyes on Him. 

As far as you can, live at peace under the human authorities that are in place and heed the warning that when we start doing whatever we think is right in our own sight, we have made ourselves king of our own little kingdom and the end result is historically not good.

Remember that the governing authorities are in place by God’s design and never forget that as God’s people, we know and act in accordance with the truth that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords over all of creation and all authorities on earth and in heaven.

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