Let’s not let them forget God! As moral relativism increasingly influences our culture, people will do what seems right in their own eyes, but it will always be so wrong. Perhaps we can be the voice of reason by fiercely committing to and vocally defending the Bible, the only source of what is truely right, even as our culture wishes the Word of God would go away. It won’t, thank God!
Going Deep // Focus: Judges 19:1
Now in those days Israel had no king…
I know, this is the same exact sentence that begins Judges 18. It is not a mistake. It is the third time in three chapters that the writer uses the same sentence to describe the moral condition of Israel during this time. And each time, the sentence is followed by a story that disturbs our sensibilities. In this case, what follows is arguably the most revolting story in the Bible. I won’t even retell it—you can read it for yourself—but it is brutal and disgusting. But pity poor me, trying to come up with an edifying devotional from it.
To unpack that phrase in more detail—in those days Israel had no king—and would refer you back to the devotional I presented for the previous chapter. Just to summarize, we are being given a picture of what life was like in Israel when they had abandoned any controlling moral authority that kept them between the lines of social civility and moral uprightness. Things got increasingly ugly.
The writer of Judges has prophetically summed up our twenty-first century world in this statement that he has used three times at this point. Then, in the very last line of his book, he adds to it: “There was no controlling moral authority to govern peoples’ lives, so everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
“What was right in their own eyes” reflected a philosophy of moral relativism, which is simply put, public and private life without the presence of a “controlling moral authority”. Unfortunately, both in the day of the Judges and in our day, without fail moral relativism produces personal, cultural, economic and global chaos. Alexander Solzhenitsyn presciently described it in his now famous Templeton Address, “Men Have Forgotten God”. He lamented, “Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.”
“The failings of human consciousness, deprived of its divine dimension, have been a determining factor in all the major crimes of this century…Yet we have grown used to this kind of world; we even feel at home in it.”
He was describing the atrocities that took place in Eastern Europe. He might as well have been describing Judges. And sadly, he is describing what will a happen in an American culture that, like the aforementioned cultures, embraced relativism as their philosophy of life. When we have no controlling moral authority—a God who decides what truth is, who determines how man should live and who holds him accountable for it—each of us will begin to do what seems right in our own eyes.
We will do what we think is right, but it will be so wrong!
All that to offer this reminder: you and I can perhaps be agents of change by simply and fiercely committing to a source of truth that is unchanging, the Word of God, and unapologetically calling our culture to God’s standard, even as it has forgotten God.
The prophetic drift of this fallen world is inexorably toward forgetting the Almighty Creator and Ruler of us all. Let’s not let the world forget God without a fight.