In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

-Judges 21:25

So the author of Judges concludes one of the most sobering sections of the Bible. When Judges began, the sky was the limit. If Israel would trust God and risk their lives going in to battle by faith they would complete possession of the land. Instead, we read about the increased “Canaanization” of Israelite leaders and Israelite culture. Trusting God by faith becomes a thing of the past. Everyone just does whatever they want, and that’s not a good thing.

The last few episodes in Judges are painfully tragic. Israel is morally wandering in the dark, fumbling faith, integrity, and justice. The nature of the degenerative state of Israel’s culture in Judges 17-21 is meant to be a shocking warning to all who read it. Refusal to worship God will lead people to rape, murder and genocide.

But we can’t leave Judges without asking what it does for the overall Biblical narrative. It begs the question- why didn’t God destroy Israel? Why didn’t he let the Canaanites devour them? Why keep saving them?

After reading Judges, we must conclude that if God will remain faithful to Israel even after chapters 17-21, then there’s nothing Israel can do to escape God’s love and covenant faithfulness. His grace is greater.

What if you substituted your own worst failures for Israel’s failures in Judges 17-21? Too often we are running so hard that we don’t stop to look seriously at our motivations, our decisions, and our sin. When we do, we will see our own failure to believe, our own struggle with Americanizing Christianity, our own false gods. With a crystal clear view of the darkness of our own sin, we need to know that there’s nothing we can do to escape God’s love and covenant faithfulness. After all, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

So what? So believe God! Destroy those idols! Insist on living by faith! Reject Satan’s lies! You belong to God, isn’t it time you started thinking like it? Talking like it? Acting like it? Faith motivates us to live in light of the amazing truth that God’s grace is greater than our sin. He is worthy of our worship in every way. He is trustworthy even in our most vulnerable moments. His grace is greater.

Ryan serves as the Senior Pastor of Green Pond Bible Chapel in Rockaway, New Jersey. He is married with four children.

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