The chapter is summed up in the familiar refrain that closes the book of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel; each person did what they thought to be right.”
We live in a time and place that is not so very different. We are surrounded by debates about what is right and wrong – and in the end, most people do what they believe is right, disregarding both the governmental and religious authorities, and even disdaining to seek God’s guidance in their decisions.
The book of Judges, and this final chapter in particular, illustrates the consequences of such philosophies. Morality is not relative. There are moral absolutes, and they are determined by the only One capable of judging rightly, the One who created the heavens and the earth.
If you try to measure something using a yardstick that has been broken and taped together, you are unlikely to get an accurate measure. Our human ability to judge right and wrong is as skewed as that yardstick. Each of us is broken or warped in a slightly different way, so we get a different result when we try to evaluate something with our flawed instrument. We look at one another and scoff over the foolishness of those around us trying to make sound judgments despite their brokenness, but fail to see how flawed our own judgements are.
Instead of comparing our poor judgment to others around us and boasting because we are better than someone else, we need to compare ourselves to the perfect One, to the Christ, and recognize we have more in common with the drug addict, the murderer, or the thief than with the One who died for each of these.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6