“In those days there was no king in Israel; all the people did was right in their own eyes.” Judges 17:6, 18:1, 19:1, 21:25
With no God fearing leader the people turn to their own desires; the “community” falls into disarray. With no leader, God fearing or not, the people’s sin grows, there are no boundaries. John Wesley states, “What wonder was it then, if all wickedness overflowed the land?” Much wickedness is seen in these chapters! Idolatry, false worship, theft, murder, rape, inhospitality, disregard for life, disregard of women, acting without prayer, and rash vow making/following – these are just the start of the list. It is not the absence of an earthly leader/king but a lack of recognition of God, “the language of doing what is right in one’s own eyes appears elsewhere as an indication of pride and rebellion against God (Duet 12:8). Israel is descending a slippery slope, the community is in freefall, and they are morally and socially disintegrating. It seems in many ways our world today, our country, our state, our community, our church and ourselves are in many ways seeing this decline and disintegration. Anything goes, all is right, the individual is more important than the community, the individual has no boundaries, the individual is god, and everyone is free to write their own rules, dismissing the boundaries set by Creator God. It didn’t work well for the Israelites, ever – why do we think it will be different now? Just as David’s sin of lust sent him spiraling into greater and greater sins (adultery, conspiracy to murder, murder…), the Israelites are digging themselves a deeper and deeper hole. I suggest we pull our heads out of the sand, honestly assess our world today, get on our knees, confess our sins, ask forgiveness and for guidance from God in all we do. Lord, I recommit myself to you today…….