In The Absence of a King
“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
- Judges 17:6
The Old Testament Judges often carried out Yahweh’s justice in a violent, decisive way, with no one to oversee the process. After their capture of Canaan, the Israelites had become disorganized, uncivilized, and spiritually confused. Over the next 350 years, trial by fire was the standard, not the exception. The chaos of that time was an open invitation for an enemy invasion. They were in need of leadership tempered with God’s wisdom. They needed a King.
Man, I hated football practice. By the time I made it to high school, I realized wrestling and baseball might be a better pursuit for a boy my size (the day I graduated, I weighed 135 lbs). However, in the 7th grade, I was still giving football a shot.
We were making our way up the hill to the locker room one hot, August afternoon, headed to the showers and worn out. As fate would have it, I made it to the entrance about the same time as Tony, the 6-foot, 180 Ib., 9th grade bully. He was hanging out there for the sole purpose of picking on smaller human beings… and he was good at it. Without provocation, Tony shoved me into the wall at the entranceway. What happened next, I will never forget.
As I was picking myself up I heard a loud smack and the sound of Tony’s body falling into the fence across the walkway. Standing over him was my big brother, Jim, saying something to the effect, “Don’t ever look at my brother again… got that?”
Jim had come by to pick me up… and as it turned out, to render his form of “justice” in the absence of an adult.
Daily Battle Order:
Much like Jim, the Judges often meted out epically brutal judgements, undoubtedly with about the same amount of forethought. But where was the wisdom, the discernment of true leadership that is required to sustain the Kingdom? Are you content to do “what is right in your own eyes”? Or are you wise enough to seek the counsel of the King?