Practical Application of the Word of God
The bleak truth about most people who claim to be Christians today is that their foundation of belief is mainly built on what mere mortals like themselves say and do and on the traditions and commandments of the same mere mortals instead of being built solely and solidly on the word of God.
In other words, many Christians do what is right in their own eyes (or in the eyes of other humans and/or organizations), not recognizing, as was the pattern of Israel throughout the Old Testament, that we, like they, have a King whose authority we are under and whom we are subject to, should be wholeheartedly loyal to, and to whom we owe our complete, total and uncompromised allegiance, obedience, honor, respect, and love.
This similarity between Old Testament Israel and us as Christians today makes the book of Judges in the Old Testament relevant for us today for instruction in righteousness, for reproof, for correction, and for doctrine.
Israel in the Old Testament couldn’t see their King even when He was right there with them in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. They, instead, looked to human thinking – their own and others’ – for leadership and guidance.
The book of Judges, which covers 410 years, tells us the story of Israel after they inherited the promised land that God gave them, and the generation that was alive from the wilderness through the initial years of inhabitation died, with subsequent generations not knowing – because Israel abandoned God’s explicit instructions in Deuteronomy – God or His word and His law.
We see a pattern emerge that is similar to the pattern we see with ourselves as Christians. There are times of wholesale disobedience and idolatry followed by comparatively short interludes where God is merciful and delivers Israel (although every one of the judges that He gave Israel was seriously flawed and was not consistently obedient or wholehearted in following God).
An interesting lesson from the book of Judges is that Israel as a nation during this time never repented from their sins and idolatry. And their judges, whom God raised, were susceptible to the same lack of repentance. As a result, we see rampant lawlessness, violence, and chaos in every part of their lives including their spiritual lives.
We see much the same thing on the landscape of Christianity today. We see self-proclaimed “men of God.” We see organizations claiming that they alone are the “true Church” of God (ignorant of God’s own word that His church is spiritual, comprised of the people He has called and given to Jesus Christ, the Head, the Authority, the Cornerstone, and the Shepherd of that spiritual body, as well as the King over all things as King of kings and Lord of lords). We see people in leadership positions who are clamoring for a following, hungry for power, and hungry for money and willing to do whatever it takes, by hook or crook, to get all these physical things for themselves.
We see among those claiming to follow Jesus Christ rampant idolatry. Of people. Of organizations. Of physical stuff that makes up this temporary physical life. We don’t have to look far at all to see the altars of worship that many of us as Christians have set up for ourselves wherever we want, whenever we want, and for whatever we want.
For the most part, modern Christians are doing whatever seems right in their own eyes.
Because there is famine of hearing the words of the Lord, and because we ourselves, in general, have abandoned relying on the word of God, through daily prayer and Bible study, to teach us, lead us, guide us, correct us, and provide for us all that we need, and have turned to the words of mere mortals like ourselves and made them a substitute for the word of God, we, like the Israelites in the time of the Judges, have lost a lot of the knowledge of God, His word, His law, and His ways.
That is the underlying reason why there is so much chaos, division, and lawlessness in the Christian landscape today. We have abandoned God. We don’t see our King who is among us, with us, and who fights for us.
This is potentially fatal place for us as Christians to ever be. The day we think we’re all that as far as God is concerned and whatever we do is okay, even if it is outright disobedience to God, is the day we travel at a rapid pace headlong down the same path as the Israelites during the time of the judges did. Ultimately, this is the same path that Satan and one-third of the angels embarked upon who knows how long before humans were ever created.
It’s that serious.
We have a King ruling over us. Now is the time to repent and to humble ourselves before our King, confess our sins to Him, asking for forgiveness, and recommitting our ways, our hearts, our souls, and our minds to Him wholeheartedly and permanently.
That is the takeaway message of the book of Judges. Will we listen? And what will we do when we’ve heard the word of God to each of us?