The book of Judges begins just after the death of Joshua, who led the children of Israel in the conquest of the Promised Land, distributing the territory among the twelve tribes. You would think, after all the miracles the Israelites experienced, that they would be a revived and faithful people. But unfortunately, the book of Judges is the story of unfaithfulness and inconsistency.
Every generation fell into a tragic cycle. First, they would forget God’s commands and commit idolatry. Second, God would allow a foreign invader to bring severe oppression. Third, this would cause the nation of Israel to repent and cry out to the Lord for help. Fourth, the Lord would send an inspirational military leader called a “judge” to deliver them. Unfortunately, the Israelites would then forget their God and follow idols yet again; the cycle of sin would continue.
Today’s verse summarizes the entire situation in Israel. “There was no king in Israel, and every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” We, like the Hebrews, become inconsistent and unfaithful without the right ruler. Without the right king we begin to make our own decisions and follow idols. But with Jesus as our king, we live forgiven in God’s faithfulness and strength. Is the Lord your king?
“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”