If you are reading through the Bible this year and going from Genesis to Revelation as your plan, you may be in Judges.
No matter what plan you use, you will eventually be in Judges and if you thought Leviticus and Numbers were difficult and challenging, this book has to be one of the strongest testing points of any attempt to do a complete read-through of Scripture.
Chapter after chapter reads like a child spawned by the marriage of The Jerry Springer show and the whole spectrum of reality shows.
It is a mess and goes from bad to worse.
Every time I read through Judges, I spend more time cringing and gasping and putting question marks in the margin of my Bible than any other book.
The portion I read today is one I have never gotten over the shock of and is the reason I always cautioned parents to not just willy-nilly hand their Bible to young children for reading material.
It is confusing because the people had become so confused and yet God is still coming to them at different times and it is hard to make sense of it all even as an adult.
I know that we read Scripture to understand who God is and who we are and all I can say is, we are not Him and any time we try to be Him we make a total wreck of humanity.
The passages I read today are chapters 17-20 and they are so graphic and horrible that it makes me want to close my Bible and not even think about it.
However; you have to look at these passages in light of the fact that they are following the train wreck that was Samson. So the people of Israel are digressing rapidly into increasing levels of depravity.
In chapter 17 we are told about a man named Micah who stole money from his mom. She put a curse on it and when he returned it, she dedicated it to “the Lord” and commissioned a portion of it for the forging of a silver idol so her son (the one who had stolen her money, remember?) could make an altar and temple in his home.
Then he nabs a Levite and convinces him to be his priest.
Done and done.
Instead of a man-cave, he has his own worship center completely staffed and outfitted with a god of his own making.
From there the story spirals down into one horrific event after another.
And while I stare at the pages and wonder why God didn’t just walk away right then and there, I am chilled by the words that sound so familiar in this day and age I live in.
“…everyone did whatever seemed right to him.” Judges 17: 6b
I think of conversations I have, even with people who say they are Christians, and the ideas and theology they share that seems “right” to them.
I think of people who are disgruntled and who feel they have the right to take revenge on the company that did them wrong.
I think of the confusion that is not only applauded but encouraged in every arena of this insane culture.
I think of all the causes that protect animals but think nothing of ending human life by choice.
I think of the leaders of every single organization, including churches, who thought it was ok to hurt children.
I think of the pressure being put on young children and teens to be their own boss and do whatever seems right in their eyes.
It goes on and on and on.
And I am so thankful God didn’t walk away from the mess that was Israel.
I am so thankful He did what was righteous in His own eyes and sent His Son.
I am overwhelmed when I stop and think He took on all of our sin…because have mercy…our sin is so ugly and cruel and disgusting…and He became it…He BECAME sin for all of us and all the world.
He did what was right in God’s sight and died for us so that we might live for Him.
Rather sobering, isn’t it?