Cultural compromise. Underlying uncertainty. Increased immorality. Fickle faithfulness. These characteristics of Jewish society during the time of the Judges could just as easily describe our 21st century conditions.
No less than three times, the author of Judges states, “in those days Israel had no king” (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1). The connection between the lack of strong moral authority and the ensuing apostasy could not be clearer. When various judges rose to lead the country, Israel conquered their enemies. When there was no one to rule, a sordid mix of cultural influences, religious tradition and each one “doing as he saw fit” filled the void of leadership, resulting in oppression and subjugation by surrounding nations.
Israel was in such a state of compromise that one woman thought she was doing a good thing by consecrating her silver to the Lord before casting it into an idol! (Judges 17). Even the leaders themselves were tainted by the culture. Samson’s intoxication with Philistine women proved so overwhelming he didn’t even realize “the Lord had left him” after Delilah shaved his head and his strength evaporated (Judges 16:20).
When we allow that fatal combination of society’s standards, religiosity and self-reliant narcissism infiltrate our lives we are headed for the same demise as Israel. When we feel we have to twist the Word of God to make it more relevant, we poison the very truth we say we believe. One tablespoon of arsenic kills a human being within minutes. Even a small dose of syncretism can be deadly.
Jesus never did what was “right in his own eyes.” In fact, he said, “… I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me” (John 8:28). He always went back to the moral authority and refused to veer from it. He never compromised the truth. Or justified sin….Nor should we. Even if it costs us our life.
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Don’t risk doing what is “right in your own eyes.”