“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man (and woman) did that which was right in his (her) own eyes.”
Judges 17: 6, King James Version
“How Deep Can You Go”
“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
How would I define the word “evil”?
Have I ever stopped to consider how far evil can take me if I choose to harbor it within?
“Our character is but the stamp on our souls of the free choices of good and evil we have made through life.”
John Cunningham Geikie
When my sister and I were growing up, we loved frittering away the hot Arizona summer days, swimming. In order to perfect our diving skills, we came up with a game we created called, “Who Can Dive The Deepest.” We used coins on the bottom of the pool as our targets. We’d begin to try and retrieve coins in the shallow end of the pool and then move to the very deepest point where we could dive down and try to retrieve our loot. Back then, our activity was a harmless child’s game designed to keep us healthy and cool.
However, after our studies through Judges, it appears to me that the children of Israel played the game, “How Deep Can You Go” long before we ever did. However, instead of this being some kid’s game, played with coins, God’s children, who were called to be “lights in the darkness” to the surrounding nations, made a choice to play “How Deep Can You Go” with their spiritual lives.
Throughout the entire book of Judges a track is left that details with extreme clarity what happens when a person chooses to wander off the pathway God has laid out for their life. Unfortunately, as we have found, frequently when a weak or wayward leader was at the helm, the situation became much worse for without someone standing up for God’s cause, the record was very clear, “Everybody decided to do what they thought was right in their own eyes.” When this happens…disaster follows. Maybe not immediately, but, soon enough. But before we leave the book of Judges, there are several more lessons God has for us that contain instructions that apply directly to our contemporary lives.
Having made up their minds that whatever they did was perfectly fine, not only did God’s children fall away, but even the Levites, the priests of God, fell so low and went so deep into the pit of sin that it is hard to read about the destructive acts that were performed.
Over the next few days, we will look at the individual groups that fell into the pit of evil and we are going to spend time looking specifically at why God’s children took such a tumble into sin.
What I have found so heartening in the stories in Judges is that even when God’s children blatantly disobeyed Him and even when they ignored His repeated calls to repentance, God never, ever stopped loving them. As Donald Coggan so beautifully noted, “God loves us in our sin, and through our sin, and goes on loving us, looking for a response.”
Thankfully, some of God’s precious children did respond and were drawn by their Father’s cords of love. May you and I be counted among the children who turned with grateful hearts to their Father who loved them with an everlasting love.
“Spiritual victory comes only to those who are prepared for battle.”
“Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our foolish ways!
Re-clothe us in our rightful minds,
In purer lives thy service find,
In deeper reverence praise.
Breathe through the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire;
Speak through the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still small voice of calm!”
John Greenleaf Whittier
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