Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.

This is the last verse in the Book of Judges and, for me, it hasn’t come soon enough!  On the whole I enjoy reading God’s word each day, and am especially pleased that the M’Cheyne ‘daily diet’ includes three other chapters from quite different parts of Scripture as well as ones like Judges.  But for the last three weeks I have had to keep reminding myself that when King David wrote, “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.  The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes” (Psalm 19:7-8), Judges was a much bigger portion of his diet than it is of mine, so I should not complain.

I take heart from the Apostle Paul’s reminder that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16).  At least the last verse of this canonical Old Testament book helps to explain why it has been such a depressing ordeal for me.  It is the truthful historical account of what happens when a nation rejects God’s revealed truth and makes up its own set of rules and guiding principles.  Perhaps this is why Paul also wrote concerning the OT Scriptures: “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfilment of the ages has come” (1 Cor. 10:11).

Every horrific mess God’s Chosen Covenant People found themselves in during this period in their history was the direct result of their own disobedience, and even their attempts to get out of the mess based on human ‘wisdom’ usually ended up creating an even greater mess.  (This was clearly the case with regard to the need to provide wives for the Benjamites, Chapters 20-21! … My own childhood was influenced by my mother’s little adage: “What a tangled web we weave, when first we practise to deceive” – one sin always leads to another!)

The other thing that keeps me going when I read Judges is that it does provide an excellent background for the expression of God’s sovereign grace.   When God finally did give Israel a king, Saul, he was a direct descendant of one of the 600 ‘less-than-ideal’ unions made ‘necessary’ by sinful behaviour of the tribes of Israel (see Judges 20-21 and 1 Samuel 9:1-2)!  Although Saul’s Kingship was so far from the ‘real deal’, it did set the path for the coming of the True King, Jesus.  “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! … … For from him and through him and to him are ALL things. To him be the glory for ever! Amen” (Romans 11:33, 36).

– Bruce Christian