Thursday, April 16, 2009

Judges 17 Question

The real reason I decided to drop you a line is that I am not making any sense out of Judges 17 thru the end of the book of Judges. I keep asking why this story is in the Bible. I understand what it's saying, but can't understand what it ties into. Can you tell me?
As far as Judges 17 – is concerned there are several reasons and principles that I think can be drawn from the passages:
First – it shows the ugliness and sin that Israel was engaged in. Very often “sin” is abstract and theoretical in our thinking but in these stories we see sin in its real nature and gore. Sin affects lives. And I feel when I read those passages that we see sin in it effects and consequences.
And that is important to remember. Sin is not just a religious idea that only has bearing upon the conscience prone to religion. Sin has real results in the world and in the lives of humanity.
Second – it shows the decay of a people who took God for granted. Israel had every reason to live right, yet, they chose to go down the path of hedonism and heathenism. As Christians we are always in danger of having all the outward trappings of faith and yet not experiencing the inward transformation and reality of that faith. There is a danger of living on the symbols and the past rather than living on the strength of a current and vital relationship with Christ.
Third – what is most interesting is the phrase “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” I feel like that is a perfect statement and illustration of where “relativism” leads to. They were not intending to do wrong per say, they were doing right – what “they” thought was right. So the Bible says: “there is a way which seemeth right unto man but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Right is only truly right when it is according to God’s commands and principles. In this current day and atmosphere everyone assumes they are doing right; however, that is a false assumption. Man is not bent naturally towards right; man is bent naturally towards sin. That is why it is so vital to make sure that our opinions, feelings, actions and attitudes, no matter how religious we may think they are, are in fact in line with scripture.
Fourth - these passages show us that God's grace and justice deals with man on the stage of human experience. By that I mean that these people in the Bible were not "characters" without feeling, without context, without psychological baggage and without the struggles of human existence. God's work of redemption and man's interaction with God is not played out in a vacuum. In passages like these we see God's grace in that He is dealing with man in all of man's failure and frailty - and how vile that can be the text clearly shows. True Christian experience is a human experience. Christian faith and obedience to God is not just something we "think" about in our private studies and church pews on Sunday morning. The Christian life is lived amidst the collisions of life and death, sin and righteousness, victory and struggle. We must not allow the Bible and its teachings to be separate from our lives, but rather, it must shape our lives and direct our lives as we live.

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