MONDAY, FEBRUARY 13
"… God gave them up
unto vile affections…"
After the death of Joshua, the political and spiritual trends in Israel changed. The tribes became more interested in material wealth and political compatibility than obedience to the law. Through intermarriage and religious syncretism, the strength of Israel began to decline. Tribes became independent and many sanctuaries were built in addition to the one in Shiloh. Rather than progression and victory, the Book of Judges portrays a sad story of retrogression and apostasy.
On the surface, moral relativism appears to be the epitome of tolerance. Delving deeper, it is the denial of the absolute truth of God’s Word. The text describes the pre-monarchical period hence there was "no king in Israel" (Judg 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). Israel began to reject the Law of Moses as the standard of conduct. There was only one other way in which moral activity could be conducted: on the basis of subjective norms. Every man established his own principles of righteousness on the basis of his own evaluation. When the foundation for absolute truth is destroyed, relativism always follows, leading to confusion and loss of objective morality.
The absence of moral standard is seen in the chaotic marriage relationships. Separation of husbands and wives was apparently common as revealed in the story of the Levite and his wife. Moreover, the sons of Belial had no regard for law and morality in their lustful desires. The Levite was also spiritually degenerated, seen in his offer of his concubine to the sons of Belial. The problem escalated to the national level. When the Benjamites refused to hand over the sons of Belial to the Israelites to be punished, a civil war broke out.
THOUGHT: Do I believe in the absoluteness of God’s truth?
PRAYER: "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether" (Ps 19:7-9).