For the next few weeks, I want to take our Sunday evening lessons from the Old
Testament book of Judges. In these lessons, I do not plan to do a verse by verse
study. I will call some things to your attention that you may or may not have noticed in
this book. I hope I can encourage you to include Judges in your weekly readings. The
things I share with you will have much more meaning if you are reading in the book. I
continue to ask you to bring your Bibles with you.
This evening I call a feature of the book to your attention. It is a feature that all
of you who have studied the book have noticed. Tonight we will not be content to note
the feature is there. Our primary focus will be on this question: What does this feature
When we combine these three attitudes and situations, we produce the same
result: everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes.
[Everything declared from Judges 17:1 through the closing of the book verifies that God was not a factor in the actions or the directions that were commonplace in Israel at that time. God's leadership was completely rejected. In fact, some of the people were so ignorant of God's ways that they thought they were doing what God would have them do.]
[This chapter combines Micah's failure that was created by identifying idolatry with God's way in chapter 17 with the failure of the tribe of Dan to settle a territory in chapter 18. Such enormous, wicked failures can be understood only if it is understood that there is no king in Israel.]
[A Levite's concubine was raped to death in Bethlehem of Judah. He dissected her dead body, sent a piece of her body to each tribe, and as a result produced a major national crisis in Israel.]
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
Judges 2:10-23 All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel. Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals, and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the Lord to anger. So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had spoken and as the Lord had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed. Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do as their fathers. When the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways. So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He said, "Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to My voice, I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers did, or not." So the Lord allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, "Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations." But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day--in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also. Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king who will reign over them."
This evening I call a feature of the book to your attention. It is a feature that all of you who have studied the book have noticed. Tonight we will not be content to note the feature is there. Our primary focus will be on this question: What does this feature mean?
When we combine these three attitudes and situations, we produce the same result: everyone does what is right in his or her own eyes.
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