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The Word in the World

The Word in the World – Right in his own eyes… (Judges 21:25)

Today’s Reading: Judges 20-21

Today’s Reflection: Judges 21:25

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.  In a very real way, this statement is a synopsis of how many people in the Western world live today.  The idea of a single objective truth, particularly one rooted in belief in the divine, is rejected by most.  Even many who claim to believe in God tend to be more tied to a system of traditions and rituals rather than have a real relationship with a literal God or have their behaviour guided by a religious moral code.  This subjective, relativistic, post-modern mindset encourages people to seek out their own ‘truth’, to discover what is good, and right, and real for them.  To do what seems to be right in their own eyes.

But it is worthwhile to note that this observation about the people of Israel in the age of the judges comes at the end of one of the most disturbing and horrific stories in the bible, an example of how horribly wrong doing what seems right in ones own eyes can be (Judges 19).  In the aftermath of these tragic events came a war that nearly destroyed the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 20), followed by a dubious compromise that would allow Israel to punish Benjamin while allowing them to continue to survive (Judges 21).  What becomes clear is that man does horrible things when he does what is right in his own eyes; man becomes vengeful when he does what is right in his own eyes; and man compromises, unclear about right and wrong, when he does what is right in his own eyes.  When man does what is right in his own eyes, he makes himself into a god, and that’s a weight that no man can handle.

Proverbs 14:12 – There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.

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