READ : Judges 1:1-2:5
You have not obeyed my voice. (2:2)
A few years ago a friend convinced me to go see an ultra-violent “action” movie. The movie was two hours of nonstop killing with guns, arrows, explosions, and even bare hands. So many people were dying that I started to laugh because it was impossible to take the movie seriously.
But you and I do take the Bible seriously, and when we turn to the book of Judges we turn to some of the Bible’s most violent pages. The book presents problems for modern readers. How do we reconcile the words of Jesus to “love your enemies” with what many today would consider the genocide called for in the first chapter? God created and loved those Canaanites as sure as he created and loved the Israelites. And it’s not just chapter 1. This is repeated throughout the book. What are we supposed to make of Judges?
Despite the violence, there is profound theological truth in Judges that we’ll explore together. For now, let’s say this: the Israelites were living this story, not pausing to contemplate its ethical inconsistencies. Life comes to us that way, too. We don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing the conditions of life. The world at the time of Judges was a far different world than it is today. What remains constant is how we choose to answer when God calls. Much of the drama of Judges is rooted in short bouts of obedience punctuated by longer spells of disobedience. How different is that from our experience today?
Lord, may we be obedient to your call.