Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. They quickly turned from the ways of their ancestors, who had been obedient to the Lord’s commands. Whenever the Lord raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the Lord relented because of their groaning under those who oppressed and afflicted them. But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
- Judges 2:16-19
“Some people think they can imagine a creature which was free but had no possibility of going wrong; I cannot. If a thing is free to be good it is also free to be bad. And free will is what has made evil possible.”
- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Free will has made evil possible, and whenever a good judge, ruler, leader, who leads people toward faithfulness in God’s teachings passes away, the people become more corrupt than ever. This portion at the beginning of the book of Judges is setting up the middle portion of the book, before the people of Israel started feeding upon themselves at the end of the book. One judge after another was raised up, but the effect was always short-lived, and the debauchery afterwards was worse than what had been done before.
And that leads us to the foolishness in the world today. Christianity is the naughty religion that must be eliminated or at least neutered, and there seems to be an unholy alliance among groups that have crossed purposes.
The key is that the world thinks that without God to tell us what to do, we can move forward to a better world, but history proves that theory wrong. Our free will, collectively, will choose evil every time with our personal Jiminy Cricket yelling in our ear. And even with a working conscience, the trend will be toward evil, and in the end, we become deaf to the conscience’s suggestions.
Our free will gets in the way and it gets us every time. But if we surrender the free will that God gave us back to God, we can repent and be saved in a life-giving believe and trust in Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.