Everyone Did As They Saw Fit
One of the biggest challenges that our modern day culture is facing is the struggle between truth and objectivity. While you will see many different news stories and pressing issues, the biggest threat we face comes to the erosion of truth. It seems like everyone is under the mistaken idea that my actions have no affect on the people around me. Furthermore, when that fails, we cling tightly to the version of truth that we have built up in our own minds. Truth becomes what we make of it. This leads directly to the idea of competing truths. Two contradictory things can be equally valid and true simply based on the strength of how much someone believes it. Actual truth is thrown by the wayside and the validity of arguments is based solely on emotion and how strong a person feels as though they are true. This system is nothing short of unsustainable chaos and the epitome of pride. To think we can change truth based on feeling is selfish and dangerous for us and for society as a whole.
“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.”
For the people of Israel, they had entered into a period before King Saul but after Joshua had led them into the promise land. By God’s miraculous hand, the people were not only saved from the Egyptians, but were under the constant guidance and protection of God during the process. When they arrived at the promise land, their victory was secured by the hand of God as a display of His sovereignty and might. When the author of Judges claims that Israel had no King, it is a harsh indictment of the people whose Sovereign King had led them. They abandoned God for the chaos of everyone pursuing their own desires and wishes.
God is The God of Truth
Jesus Christ very boldly made the assertion that, “Jesus answered,“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV) There is behind that statement the idea that truth, is objective. There is only one truth and many counterfeits. There are many things that will claim to be truth but unless they are willing to submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, they are a false truth hiding behind their masks. Truth is truth, whether I believe it or interpret it correctly. The glory and grace of God is that, even as the arbiter of truth, God is revealing Himself and the truth to us.
For us, this means that we do not get to define reality, but are constrained by it. For the Israelites during the time of the Judges, everyone did what they felt was true. The problem in doing so was it had a destructive effect on society. In elevating their own truth to the level of actual truth, they made themselves to be kings. Yet, when everyone is a king, no one is able to function as a king, and the authority of the one true King is ignored. Something cannot be “true to me” and false to another. The idea that something is a sin is judged by the standards that God set forth in creation, not by the standards of man.
Surrendering Emotion to God’s Will
A large part of follow God is doing so, often times in spite of our feelings. We can feel and desires things, but these feelings and desires must never be the guiding force for our decision making. The advice to follow our heart will only lead us into folly “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”(Jeremiah 17:9, NIV) At the core of humanity is is a heart that craves sin and the things that are bad for us. We desire to sin and struggle with giving it up apart from the strength that comes from Jesus’ victory of sin and death on the cross. In coming to Christ, we must submit our emotions to feel God in order that we would feel the things that God feels and crave the things that He craves.
The will of God is the guiding direction for Christians. It is rooted in the truth of creation and reality but interwoven in the love of a people made in the image of God. We may crave to sin, to go places we should not be, and to engage in things we should not engage in, but deep down those things are what God came to redeem us from. Thus, we surrender our will and our desires to the will and desires of God, not because we necessarily feel it strongly or because we fully understand it, but because of the faith and hope that we place in God. We can submit our emotions to Christ, because we know He is faithful to sustain us in the direction he sends us.
This article originally appeared here and is used with permission by the author.
About the Author
Pastor Daniel Burton lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. In May 2015, Daniel graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with his Master of Divinity. It was here that he began to explore his passion for Theology and deeper exploration of the word of God. Daniel believes that, at its core, Theology should be fun. Check out more of his work at http://thegospeloutpost.com