In those days, Israel had no king. Everyone did as he saw fit.
– Judges 21:25
The book of Judges spans a period of over 325 years, in which the people of God experienced periods of oppression and deliverance at the hand of good leaders and bad.
Under the leadership of the fearless and devoted Joshua, the people had entered into the land of milk and honey. The promised land. Now, after Joshua’s death, they are leader-less, left without a man or a plan.
So, the Israelites asked of the Most High God: Who shall go up for us against the Canaanites first, to fight against them?
God answered the cry of his people and provided a leader, Judah, who fought against their enemies and won.
That’s chapter one.
The rest of the book of Judges has the same recurring theme – enemies try to take the Israelites captive, then God raises up a deliverer.
When we get to chapters 17-25, we read of the moral decline of Israel. The people of God had a hard time keeping their focus on him. Even though God had accomplished great and mighty things in their midst, they still willingly strayed from his protection. Idolatry and moral depravity began to take a serious hold as the people turned their ears away from God’s instruction.
And then the whole book ends at the 21st chapter and the 25th verse with these chilling words:
“In those days, Israel had no king. Everyone did as he saw fit.“
In my own life, I know the repercussions of doing as I see fit and not as God directs. I would LOVE for the apple of my eye to NEVER experience that in her own life!
But she will. We’re all sinners.
I just want my granddaughter to take this verse to heart. I want this verse to actually be hidden in her heart so that more and more, as she grows, she will lean into the power of God’s direction, thereby, less and less, she will drawn to do as she sees fit.
When she has stumbled a step or two off of the narrow road, I want this verse to reminder her to turn back and set her beautiful feet toward God, who leads her in the paths of righteousness.
When she has strayed into an unhealthy relationship, I want this verse to ignite in her heart an all-consuming passion to follow the One who loves her most.
And when she finds herself in a treacherous situation, where there seems to be no way, I want her to reach for the hand of Jesus, the one who calms the fiercest storm.
While she’s hiding this verse in her heart, I want Kynzie to be able to grasp these two important truths:
One: We are no longer a people without a king. Though we elect our nation’s leaders, we serve the King of Kings who sits on the throne of mercy and grace. By faith, she can approach the throne in confidence that she will not be turned away. No status necessary. No money to be paid. No campaigns to have chaired. Just faith.
Two: Doing as we see fit can lead to the very demise of our fitness. God’s ways are better, and he doesn’t hold back on letting us know what they are. She can trust him. His plans for his people are good, good plans. God just asks that she believe in his Son, Jesus Christ, who died for her. The unique ways he sets his plans into motion in her life will be an adventure of the very best kind. Not always easy, but always, always best.
Encouraging intentional adventure as we serve the King of all Kings, whose kingdom knows no end,
PS – If you want to read the great stories of Gideon and Samson with your grandchild, you can find them here in the book of Judges.
Memorization tip: Place definite inflection on the word “those.” In those days, Israel had no king…” Use this as a springboard to talk about the differences between those days for the Israelites and these days for those who have placed their faith in Jesus. You may want to do a little background research for yourself on the preeminence of Christ so that you can confidently share these truths with your little one. Ask your grandchild some questions about how he or she would lead people if they were made king of their school. Write down their answers – and if your grandchild says there would be lots of ice cream, go get some!
(Note: This post is #7 in a series. If you want to follow along from the beginning, click here.)
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