Our values are revealed in our behavior. A strong moral compass results in good behavior, whereas a lack of a moral foundation reveals behavior that is often self-seeking.

Israel could have been a theocracy but they abdicated their responsibility to follow God because they wanted to be like the other nations. The book of Judges is a dark time in Israel’s history as it chronicles the cycles of sin and servitude Israel experienced until God raised up a judge to bring them deliverance. Judges covers approximately 350 years of history from the death of Joshua to Israel’s first king, Saul. The theme of the book is captured in the last verse,

In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 21:25 also in 17:6)

When God is not guiding us, our sins reign unchecked due to a lack of a reliable moral compass. So what does it look like when people do what is right in their own eyes? Judges tells the story of a priest who treats his mistress like a dog and then cuts her into pieces and sends her body parts to the twelve tribes and thinks he’s communicating a God-honoring message. The result is a tribe of Israel is almost annihilated. This story is repulsive in so many areas.

God was willing to lead the nation of Israel, but they chose to go their own way. They forgot that God had chosen them for a purpose, to be a blessing to the other nations. Lest we be too critical of Israel, how often do we do what is right in our own eyes and we relinquish our opportunity to be a blessing to others. When we read the book of Judges we comprehend the seriousness of sin and it may lead the tender heart to repentance. We may think we know what is best, but God knows our motive,

Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts. (Proverbs 21:2)

If we continue to do what is right in our own eyes, then we should not be surprised if we suffer the consequences of our choices. Judges reveals not only God’s justice in dealing with sin, but also His grace in forgiving sin. God has graciously provided this book as a warning to us so that we will not choose our own ways but follow God’s ways. People who value their privileges above their principles will soon lose both.

Judges opens in confusion and ends in chaos – may we heed the warnings from this book.

RickAssociate Pastor – Discipleship.  The Church at LifePark

Professor of Discipleship, Columbia International University

Follow me on twitter:  rickhiggins5