Judges is one of those books in the Old Testament where we’re regularly called to pause and stare in bewilderment at Israel. As we read we cannot help but ask, “How did they get here? How did things get so bad so quickly?” But like most of the stories about Israel, they’re not just about Israel—they’re about us. And as I’ve been reading Judges lately, I haven’t been able to help but notice the parallels to our present day.
In fact, reading Judges is not unlike reading my daily newsfeed—a condemning parallel, to say the least. I’m not talking about guys killing lions (though I guess that’s also a parallel), but about the blatant disregard for human life strewn across the pages of Judges and our smartphone screens.
Different Time, Same Place
Judges 19 is easily one of the most graphic chapters in the Bible. It starts with an unfaithful concubine, moves to a strange interchange between a guy and his father-in-law, and then rapidly escalates to gang rape, men handing over women to save their own skin, and the physical dismemberment of a woman who’s then mailed out around Israel in 12 pieces. It’s an awful, awful story. And the point is to show how the people of Israel, with no king and no order (Judges 19:1), were doing whatever they wanted.
But then I glance from Judges to my newsfeed, and I see videos of tiny human beings who have been dismembered, packaged up, sold for research. I look to my newsfeed and see the celebration of a “freedom” lauding sex without cost—sex that disregards the true beauty and purpose of such a gift. I look to my newsfeed and see the championing of women’s rights—that women may kill the little women growing inside them in order to maintain their freedom.
And then I look back at Judges 19, and see the woman being destroyed. I see the sexual predators getting their way. And I see the bloody body parts being passed around. And with an eye on Judges 19 and an eye on Twitter, the question is no longer “How did we get here?” but “How haven’t we left?”
What We Most Need
“In those days there was no king in Israel,” the book concludes. “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25).
In our days, selfishness is king, and everyone legislates according to what’s right in their own eyes. Who will deliver us from this cultural body of death? It will not—indeed, it cannot—be an elected official. It must be the one who elects unto salvation himself.
We need a king who can heal our hearts and transform the broken desires of those want keep their unborn as just that: unborn. We need King Jesus to pour out his Spirit on our land in order to eradicate longing for abortion. We need the God who not only forbids the sacrifice of children to Molech but who considers it a thought that’d never enter into his mind (Jer. 32:25). In a word, we need Jesus.
My Body, Your Choices
I look to my newsfeed and see, “My body, my choice.” I look to Judges 19 and watch a coward say, “My concubine, my choice.”
And then I look to John 19 where Jesus Christ, hanging on the cross, makes the definitive statement: “My body, for your choices.”