SOME SILVER, A SUIT AND A MEAL TICKET.
Judges is not a happy book. The atmosphere is totally
different from Joshua. Joshua is filled with conquest;
Judges with defeat. In Joshua there are shouts of
victory; Judges groans with cries of misery. Judges
tells us what happened when Israel compromised with
pagan Canaanite culture. We study Judges today because
it vividly portrays what is happening to God's people
in the midst of pagan American culture. God's people
are intended to be thermostats, changing the
temperature of the times. Too often we have become
thermometers, merely reflecting it.
The Holy Spirit often leaves the key to a book hanging
at the front door. In Judges, the key is at the back
door. Judges 21:25 gives the key: "In those days there
was no king in Israel: every man did that which was
right in his own eyes." The same statement is found in
our text (17:6). Has a modern ring to it, doesn't it?
The statement reflects a time when divine revelation
is replaced by human reason. Then as now, right is
determined, not by what God says, but by what man
thinks. The fixed standard of God's Word is replaced
by the floating standard of human opinion.
Judges has a clear-cut outline. We see here Israel's
compromise (ch. 1-2), conquerors (3-16) and collapse
(17-21.) These closing chapters are not pleasant
reading. One has referred to them as the sewer of the
Bible. I refer to them as the smelly armpit of
Scripture. In these chapters a series of events
illustrate what happens when the people of God succumb
to a pagan culture around them.
From this setting a young preacher named Jonathan
steps on the stage of Scripture. We know his name is
Jonathan from Judges 18:30. There we also learn that
he was the grandson of Moses. What a godly heritage
was his! Few today have a godly heritage. If you do,
be thankful. If you don't, start one! Jonathan was in
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