April 4, 2018
The Book of Judges has a recurring statement: “There was no king in Israel and every man did what was right in his own eyes.” The book is a repetitive story of God’s people falling into sinful behavior, being disciplined by becoming servants to heathen neighbors, crying out to God for deliverance, and being rescued as He sent a leader to bring them back to a right attitude toward God.
During 40 years of leadership by Moses, followed by another 40 years with Joshua, the Nation Israel had numerous periods of disobedience. But they responded to one God-appointed leader who called them to account. After the tribes had settled in the land, the affluence and independence of temporary peace was followed by recurring disobedience because there was no acknowledgment of one person who would guide them into right living.
It was Creator God Who chose the Jews to enjoy His special favor and attention, so it should have been understood that He would be their King. His leadership was carried out through Moses and Joshua. They were effective because they acknowledged God as King. Once the people were on their own without a God-appointed leader, they quickly followed their own desires. We could say they operated as their own king.
Eventually, God gave them a series of human kings who for a while provided excellent leadership ‒ but in time followed their own desires. We know that Israel fell to other nations. And although the Bible makes it clear that at a future time they will recognize Jesus as their King Who will rule the planet, it is not true today.
I find all of this a vivid reminder of the need for humans to have one King. Since God is holy and powerful, it is a privilege to be invited by Him to become a member of His kingdom. When we insist on being our own king, or allow someone or something else to rule our life, we miss the benefits of peace and contentment that come with a committed relationship with God through faith in Jesus. We need to humbly admit the need for a King and accept Jesus.
Pastor Bill Ehmann