The period of the Judges was a dark time in the history of the nation of Israel. The failure of the Judges and the looming Philistine military made Israel long for a king like the other nations. The real problem here however, is not the Philistines or the lack of a king. The real problem is one we (when I say we I really mean I) struggle with often and always to my detriment. Israel’s problem was that they failed to see God at work in their lives and took matters into their own hands. So let’s dig a little deeper and uncover our lives in the nation of Israel.
When Joshua died he left a big hole in the nation of Israel. Under Joshua’s leadership Israel enjoyed victory and prosperity. They walked with the Lord and enjoyed his blessings on their nation. However, when Joshua died Israel fell right back into the sins that had led them away from God into the wilderness to start with. God raised up Judges to deliver them from their enemies but that did not turn Israel back to obedience and the nation suffered through a very dark time. During the time of Samuel, the last judge, the Philistines were oppressing the people of Israel. The Philistine army was very strong and very aggressive. The failure associated with the time of the judges coupled with the fear of the Philistines caused the nation of Israel to long for a King to fight their battles as all the other nations had.
The people demanded a king and decided again that they would take matters into their own hands and depart from the counsel of God. They looked for a King from outward appearance and paid no attention to the character of man they chose. Saul was chosen by the people and ultimately failed as King dragging Israel further into sin and failure. Saul’s lack of obedience to God, poor decision-making, and lack of proper leadership left Israel in a mess and God ultimately removed him from his kingship. As we often do after we mess everything up in our own lives, the people came to their senses and turned back to God. He raised up David to be the king of Israel. David was God’s choice and trusted in the Lord. He consulted God in all matters and ruled the kingdom of Israel with a heart for God’s will and the nation, once again enjoyed prosperity and freedom.
So what’s the moral of the story here? It is quite simple. When we do not see a way out of the struggles in our lives, understand that God is still in control. If we try to move forward with our lives through our own foreknowledge we will fall off the edge of the upcoming cliff that we failed to see coming. God is the only one with foreknowledge and he alone is capable of directing your path. God uses all kinds of circumstances to shape our lives and he uses both good and bad. So it’s important to remember that we cannot make decisions on a future we cannot see. We must lean on God for our future and understand that everything will work out for good for them that love the Lord, and are called according to his purpose.