The darkest days in the history of Israel were the days of the Judges. The period of Judges lasted for 450 years, and the people persisted in sin throughout those four and a half centuries (Acts 13:19-21). The Book of Judges has a cycle within it that is repeated continuously: Israel sinned; they were oppressed by their enemies; they cried out to God for deliverance; and then God sent a deliverer (judge) to the rescue. The key theme in the Book of Judges is, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judg. 17:6; 21:25). No wonder the time was so dark for the people of God; there was no leadership, and everyone did what he or she thought was right.
There are many today who want to live by this philosophy, but this is a deadly motto to adopt. When people are left to themselves and reject the counsel of God, things often get worse, not better. Man is not wise enough to direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23). There is a way that seems right, but that way leads to destruction (Prov. 14:12; 16:25). Even trying to build a home without the Lord’s help is an exercise in futility (Psa. 127:1). Never mind what is right in the eyes of man, but instead, we should be concerned with what is right in the Lord’s eyes.
God has communicated to humanity what is right in His eyes. He does this through His Word
(Psa. 119:33-34). We need our eyes opened so we can see things the way God wants (Psa. 119:18). Human understanding is often faulty, but if we trust in the Lord, He will direct our paths (Prov. 3:5-6). The world thinks that doing what is right means that we approve of every behavior and praise sin, but God says we must call evil exactly what it is and never cast approval on it (Isa. 5:20; Rom. 1:32). Some think it does not matter how we worship God as long as we are sincere, but God is looking for those who worship in spirit and according to the truth (John 4:23-24; 17:17). Many teach that truth cannot be known for sure, but Jesus assured us that we can not only know the truth, but that the truth will liberate us (John 8:32).
The days of the judges were dark. They were filled with murder, immorality, and wickedness. The sad thing about the days of the judges was not simply that it was a sinful time, but that it was an extremely sinful time for God’s people. Whenever we use the world’s bifocals and do what is right in our own eyes, we can expect darkness, destruction, and despair. Yet, when we do what is right in the eyes of God, we will have victory, triumph and His approval. Moses told Israel, “And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you” (Deut. 6:18).
4th & Stewart church of Christ Weekly Bulletin, September 29, 2019.