As I laid in bed, my husband and I read the Book of Judges. This book contains a lot of morally corrupt people, disturbing stories of the various judges and the people of Israel, as well as total failure on the Israelites behalf.
This book stood out to me because it was all too familiar sounding. One particular verse at the end of this book spoke to my heart, ” In those days Israel had no King; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes”. Judges 17:6. I immediately felt like I was reading what I read about in the news every morning; mass murders, sexual abuse cases, idolatry, continuous wars, and great political and religious turmoil.
These people in the Book of Judges lived thousands of years ago and yet we feel that we have progressed so far over the years, but here we are committing the same terrible acts. So whats the correlation?
The correlation of the people of Israel then and our society now is that we too have left God out of the picture. We feel we know everything, we have gone astray, and have decided we know what’s best. This book’s main point for the reader to take away is that we need God’s grace and a King to direct God’s people.
The Need For God’s Grace
Without a King, Where Do We Turn?
At the beginning of Judges, Joshua commands the tribes of Israel to remain obedient and obey the commands of the Torah. This was to show all the other nations what God is truly like. The tribes of Israel try to remove anything that was seen as unholy to God, so they attempted to remove all the Canaanites who were worshipping other gods and were morally corrupt. But the Israelites failed.
The Israelites had no one to turn to. They had no king to enforce, control, and oversee them. They then turned back to sin by worshipping other gods and following the Canaanites practices, resulting in corruption.They were lost.
Unlike the Israelites then, today we have a King to turn to that will govern us as God sees best. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That King is Jesus Christ.“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
We have no reason to be going down similar paths that the Israelites had gone down as seen in the Book of Judges. We have a King greater than any King who has ever ruled!
Without Jesus in our lives, who can we turn to? The answer is, we turn to our self-reliant nature. Being self-reliant is what has caused suffering and darkness in the past and is what we are witnessing now. But it doesn’t have to be like this.
Because of God’s grace, we are able to live a much different life“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”Romans 3:22-24
How Do We Determine What Is Right?
This question always fascinates me especially when it is asked to someone who doesn’t believe in God or a have a relationship with Jesus. We know the difference between what is right and what is considered wrong, but where do these morals come from? Why is it a natural thing to help someone or to avoid hurting another person even if you don’t even know them?
Remember, Genesis 1:27 states”So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” If God created us in His image, it only makes sense that we feel and distinctly know the difference between what is right and what isn’t.
So why do we fall short and still find ourselves and others committing horrendous crimes and acts of evil? We were created by God to know Him and if we don’t truly know Him, our fleshly desires dictate what we do, just like we read the Israelites did. They couldn’t remove the bad and unholy people and then succumbed to their ways. Sound familiar?
Have you ever done something that you knew was wrong but did it anyway because you were influenced by another person’s behavior? I think this happens more than we realize. But why does this happen?
We may know what is right or wrong, but if we are relying on ourselves only, we quickly can be persuaded by others. When we do this we have no moral standard to put our trust in. Our personal strength is nothing compared to the power and strength of God! Through God’s grace, we have the ability to put our trust into the ultimate standard of absolute truth.
Why Self-Created Morals Cannot Work
Each one of us is completely different because of experiences, culture, and people shaping us. If we were to accept everyone’s opinion, then there would be no standard for absolute truth. Absolute truth is something that is true at all times and it holds true no matter the circumstance.
The need for an absolute standard or truth applies to all things. Even if we have good intentions in mind, if it’s not absolute truth, it is not going to be beneficial. For example, now when children play in a baseball league, everyone ends up at the end of the season with a trophy so no one feels left out. This decision had good intentions but isn’t displaying the truth of the game. The children on the last place team finished far from first place and that is okay. But by creating this new rule, we are distorting the standard for the game.
Through God’s grace, we have been given an absolute standard of truth for how we should live and that truth is seen through Jesus. God sent his only son to let us experience the true absolute standard that He has for all of us. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John14:6
With the Bible serving as the book of morals and Jesus as our absolute truth, there is nowhere else we need to look for guidance! Our forever King is here to guide our lives and to bring us into the Kingdom!