“…it came to pass…”– Judges 1:1
The last sentence in Judges reads, “everyone did what was right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25). This verse, coupled with the previous chapters, leaves us fixated on a meager ending of an otherwise “holy” nation. In Israel, one man’s sin caused national division and civil war. He did not dare to stand up for righteousness and treat another with respect and honor. Although it was one person’s display of sin, it was the result of an entire nation’s concession, for there is “none righteous, no not one!” In many ways, these chapters can be mistaken for the headlines of our modern times.
Moral decay in a nation does not come to her as a result of those pushing ungodly agendas; it happens when the Church is no longer salt and light. G. Campbell Morgan was quoted as saying, “the church did the most for the world when the Church was the least like the world.” Christian cooperation with sin contributes more to ethical deterioration than the accumulation of many sins of the unrighteous. Although perfection is impossible, holiness is expected. Those adopting a lifestyle of sin cannot assume the blessings of God. Particularly those who proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior!
James wrote, “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness” (James 4:9). Israel and her tribes had drifted far from their origins and worship of God, including this Levite. And, at a time when there should have been lamenting, it was replaced with indulgence. Rather than agonize over his sin, we find him partaking in the world’s enjoyments. God does want us to enjoy gifts He has given, but as one person has said, “for many Christians, that time is all the time!” It was not until we see Israel mourn and weep that God tells them they will have the victory (Judges 20:26-28). You can be sure this is what the Church needs today.
Although Judges ends with a bleak outlook, we must remember it began with, “it came to pass.” It did pass, and all hope was not lost! The Bible did not end in Judges; however, it does end with the Revelation, which is to come. The story is coming to a close yet has not been finished. In our nations today, we find ourselves close to the harvest passing, the summer ending, and yet we are still not saved (Jeremiah 8:20). What will be the position of our nation tomorrow if we do not mourn for her today?
“There are days when God’s people look at a chaotic world, a nation given to greed and violence, and a church weak and divided, and they wonder whether it’s worth it all to walk with God and do His will. When that happens, remind yourself that God’s people know how it’s going to end! The book of Judges isn’t the last installment; the book of Revelation is! And God assures us the righteousness will triumph, evil will be judged, and faith will be rewarded.”– Warren Wiersbe