Judges 18 – Judges 21
Our read through the Book of Judges comes to a close. Thank goodness! This was a hard read for me. One story after another on a continual downward spiral from the good and perfect world God had created. Granted, we are a long way from the Garden of Eden, where things were once perfect and pure, however, life in the Promised Land isn’t so promising. Why is that?
Two reasons come to mind:
- Using a verse quoted repeatedly in the last few chapters, “In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did what was right in their own eyes.” There was no leadership. There was no oversight. There was no guidance. Everyone was doing as each saw fit. Prostitution. Wives as concubines. False gods. Killing of fellow Israelites. Death. Destruction. On and on the list could go. With just a few rare exceptions, the Book of Judges is really “every man for themselves” and that mind set takes its toll.
- The people had lost sight of God. Think through your reading of Judges, when was the last time God was mentioned as giving guidance and oversight? We might have to go all the way back to Chapter 6 and Gideon, however even there he is testing to see if his call to leadership is really from God or just some circumstance of luck. If I remember right, there were only two different times when God was mentioned as dwelling in Shiloh. Two times! We spent chapter after chapter in earlier books reading how important God’s dwelling would be. We read that God will dwell with them, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Now I’m not to say, God left them. Not at all. Instead, as the Israelites spread across the Promised Land, they lost sight of God.
When you combine those two things together, you end up with a royal mess! A mess that boils down to: Israel had no king, because they had no God. Certainly works in my book, and could easily be applied to our own day:
To KNOW GOD is to KNOW PEACE
NO GOD means NO PEACE
Even so many centuries later, we have so much to learn!
Our next reading: The Book of Ruth