Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Everyone did as they saw fit

I just finished reading through the book of Judges in the Old Testament. If you want to read a weird book of the Bible then read Judges. It shows the downward spiral of the nation of Israel as they fall away from the true God and instead worship man-made idols.

Honestly, it's a pretty depressing book and nowhere is this more evident than in the final verse.

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

There was no leadership. No one was giving direction to the Israelites. No one was there to provide any sort of moral or social compass to follow.

So everyone did as they saw fit. Another translation says that "everyone did whatever he wanted."

I think we might all agree that this statement is just as true in our day as it was in the days of the Judges.

But something jumped out at me this morning when I read that verse. See if you notice it: Who were the people who did as they saw fit?

It wasn't the pagan nations that surrounded and lived among the Israelites. It wasn't the Egyptians or the Babylonians or the Caananites or any other of the "ites." 

It was God's chosen people, the Israelites, who did as they saw fit.

That got me thinking about those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus. I fear that we might be just like the Israelites at the end of the book of Judges. 

Isn't this why we church hop? Isn't this why we're so inconsistent in the activities of faith like reading our Bible, participating in corporate worship, or connecting relationally in small groups? Isn't this why we think our interpretation of certain passages is the only right interpretation? Isn't this why we're more "us vs. them" than "us for them?"

At the root of doing as we see fit is a lack of authority over us. We all have authority issues, don't we? We're inherently rebellious. 

But as Christians, submission to authority should be what characterizes us.

First and foremost, we must submit to the authority of Scripture. We're never told we need to like everything the Bible says, or even agree with the way God set things up. But we do need to submit to its authority, even if we don't agree with it.

Second, we need to submit to whatever authority God has placed over us. This could be governmental authority or spiritual authority (like pastors or elders). I know this is tricky, but in our rebellion and disagreements with authority we are being disobedient to the commands of God about this issue.

Finally, we need to submit to one another. Doing as we see fit is self-centered. It's all about us, which is really a problem of pride, or the idolatry of self.

If someone were writing a book about us to go in the Bible (I know that we don't add or take anything away from Scripture, but just imagine), if someone were writing a book about us, how would it end?


At 8:27 AM, August 31, 2015 , Anonymous Linda said...

This pretty much sums up the moral compass guiding the U.S.

At 8:27 AM, August 31, 2015 , Anonymous Linda said...

This pretty much sums up the moral compass guiding the U.S.


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