Growing with God: A daily devotional with Tonia Slimm.
Judges 17:6 (NIV)
In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
Judges 17:6 (MSG)
In those days there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.
“In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”-AMPLIFIED
Samson had judged for 20 years and then he had died. He was, in fact, the last judge to lead Israel; for the spiritual condition of Israel waxed worse and worse. The last five chapters actually deal with the spiritual deprivation and how far they had allowed themselves to wander from God. It truly was a sad state of affairs; our text proves this point.
The people had drifted from following the laws of God to following a law unto themselves. Whatever felt good to them; they did. It was reminisce of the spiritual climate during the days of Noah where the people basically lived to satisfy the flesh. “Eat, drink and be merry; for tomorrow we may die.” “The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually.” -Genesis 6:5 (AMP)
God had warned Moses and the people that they were to strictly follow His laws. In fact in Deuteronomy He said, “You shall not do at all what we are doing here [in the camp] today, every man doing whatever is right in his [own] eyes.” -Deuteronomy 12:8 (AMP)
King Solomon warns that the ways of man may seem right to him at the time, but it usually leads to death. “There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough; look again—it leads straight to hell. Sure, those people appear to be having a good time, but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.” -Proverbs 14:13-13 (MSG)
We can see how far the people of Israel had sunk just by taking a look at the story of Micah in Judges 17. Micah had stolen a large amount of money from his mother. Feeling guilty he admitted to her what he had done and returned the money. Sadly, she too had a warped sense of right and wrong. She tells Micah that the money had been dedicated to the Lord for him, her son. Two hundred pieces of silver were given to Micah to give to the silver smith to create an image for Micah to set up in his house to worship. Every part of this story goes against what God had instructed the people to do. Everything about Micah’s story makes me want to scream, “NO! What in the world are you thinking?”
The sad part of all of this was that the people no longer cared about what God wanted or expected from them, or what He desired of them; period. They lived in the moment, for the moment, for themselves. (Does any of this sound any different than it does today?)
Their selfish desires had taken over. Sin was the norm and chaos is a byproduct of sin. When sin is left unchecked it will lead to certain death. That was never God’s plan. James warns us against giving in to temptation. James says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God” [for temptation does not originate from God, but from our own flaws]; for God cannot be tempted by [what is] evil, and He Himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is dragged away, enticed and baited [to commit sin] by his own [worldly] desire (lust, passion). Then when the illicit desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin has run its course, it gives birth to death.” -James 1:13-15 (AMP)
The Apostle Paul warned the Colossians of the need to starve to death those evil longings that we have. Paul said, “So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]. Because of these [sinful] things the [divine] wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience [those who fail to listen and who routinely and obstinately disregard God’s precepts], and in these [sinful things] you also once walked, when you were habitually living in them [without the knowledge of Christ]. But now rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene (abusive, filthy, vulgar) language from your mouth.” -Colossians 3:5-8 (AMP)
The people during the time of Judges had chosen to go against God; at any point they could have repented, turned their back on sin and returned to an ever-merciful Father. Sadly, they decided to continue wallowing in their sin. God has set a standard, “Be ye holy; even as I am holy.” That standard is very high, but we can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens us!
Flee from sin and chaos and pursue to do what God desires. “Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” -2 Timothy 2:22 (NIV)
Lord, may my heart be right with you. Help me to flee from all appearances of sin. My first choice is to do what is holy and true; not what appears right in my own heart. Thank you for your Holy Word, that gives guidance and instruction. Thank you for your Holy Spirit that is my constant companion, prompting me to choose to do right. Lord, I want to be pleasing to you. Help me to do just that. Thank you!