those days

Today's devotion from Judges 21.

Chapter 21 concludes our time in Judges. As it comes to a close, we're no more hopeful for the Israelites than in the previous chapters. The people decide that they can't bring a curse on themselves, so they're going to kill off a village to find wives for the remaining Benjaminites. When that's not enough, they convince the Benjaminites to kidnap wives from another village.

This is one of those chapters that nonbelievers would read and say, "This is in the Bible?! Is this what God wants? I can't worship a God that condones this!" The problem is that God is NOT condoning this. There is a reason that the last words recorded in this book are, "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him." (Judges 21:25, CSB) What tragic words.

The people had turned from God. The book of Judges isn't about the judges. They aren't the heroes within these pages. These accounts contained more about the people's sins against God than their worship of Him. Even the judges were flawed and imperfect. This is a book about a persistent God. The hero is God and His patient grace.

Not everything we read in Scripture is meant to be emulated. Not everything is Scripture is something we are supposed to embrace. Much of Scripture is warning. God did not hold back when revealing the depravity of the people he chose to use, to save, and to love. The question is, "Why?" Why would the Word of God present these people committing these atrocities?

It's because that's who we are without Him. The darkness of man is in the pages of Scripture because God desired to reveal truth, not myth. Even in the process of being saved, we proved time and again that we did, indeed, need to be saved. If God's grace was not expended during the days of the judges, there is nothing you can do to reach the end of His mercy either. God doesn't give up, especially on us.