In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (Jdg 21:25)
This statement, found twice in the book of Judges is often used as a theme for that book. The verse says that two conditions existed for the nation of Israel at that time. 1) there was no king and 2) everyone did what they thought was right.
That there was no king was true, at least not in the earthly king manner. When the people finally asked Samuel to set a king over them (I Samuel 8), someone to be in charge, the response of God was first to calm Samuel down. He said “They haven’t rejected you…” It was not a slap in the face of Samuel at all. There was no cause for Samuel to feel slighted.
What God went on to say though is something that should have caused Israel to pause. “…they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” Rejected God? or just Rejected God’s reign? It didn’t matter. The effect was the same, they wanted to be like the other nations and so they were not satisfied to let God rule their lives from heaven.
We see that they did whatever was right in their eyes. I have not yet lived 50 years in this world, but I have noticed that my perceptions of what is right and wrong have changed from time to time. Of course, most of that change has come from my reading and studying God’s word, as I see an error in my life clearly, I eliminate it and continue to grow. But even among those who do not learn from God, standards they had when they were young change into adolescence,adulthood, when children come along and for a whole host of reasons.
It seems so clear to me that the world has rejected God as being King in their life. Jesus was given all authority in Heaven and on Earth (Mt 28:18ff) and yet, there are many who will not follow his authority, they want another one instead. True, in the world, there are lots of choices to make when it comes to standards you will follow, but among those who name the name of the Lord, there is and should be only ONE.
It saddens me when I see people who would rather listen to their pastor or some special preacher rather than understand the item themselves. It is no problem to talk to a minister and ask for some insight, or their insight into a particular issue. However, it is another thing when you won’t look at the text yourself and verify that the person is correct. Children are taught stories that make things easy for them to understand. The whole story may not be completely revealed to them but as adults, we should learn for ourselves.
How many of you grew up hearing that Noah took 2 pair of every kind of animal into the Ark or that the wise men came to Jesus in the manger? By now, you should know that Noah took 2 pair of the unclean animals and 7 pair of the clean. (When I was a child, I was thinking but did not ask about that animal Noah sacrificed, perhaps I thought it was the unicorn and that is why we don’t have them anymore…it is clearer now). As for Jesus and the wise men, the text clearly says they came to the HOUSE where he was not the manger.
Are these great differences upon which we can base doctrine and salvation? Not at all, but those passages do exist.
There are those who think “I live a good Christian life” but do not even read the Bible, much less go to services. Then there are those who go to services but don’t read the Bible. They hear but I imagine it doesn’t last long.
There are those who hear and do what the word of God says. Those are the ones who say “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” They are the ones who are not hearers only but doers. They are the ones who say “not my will but thy will be done”. These are the ones who will be blessed in their doing.
Let’s not be like those in Judges who rejected God’s kingship and did what they thought was right, let’s listen to what He has said and do that.