Everyone Did What Was Right In Their Own Eyes

The book of Judges in the Bible is an eye-opening portrayal of a nation’s downward spiral—and a very good lesson for all of us today.

glasses on a book

Right now, I’m studying the book of Judges. Yes, Judges! That Old Testament book is sandwiched in between the books of  Joshua and Ruth. I would guess that Judges is not one of the top 10 favorite books of the Bible on most people’s lists.  The book of Judges has a lot to say about our condition today! And it is like a mirror of our collective lives!

I love the Old Testament as much as I love the New. It’s important for all of us who call Jesus our Lord and Savior to know the full counsel of the word of God, and that includes Judges! The book of Judges is about a very, very dark time in the history of Israel. A time when the Israelites “did not know the Lord nor yet the works which He had done for Israel.”

Apathy and Apostasy

Judges is a book about apathy and apostasy. Judges is about a time in the history of Israel when the chosen people of God turned away from Him and did what was right in their own eyes.

It was a time when the people of Israel fell away from their faith as a nation, and it took only a couple of generations to do so! WOW!  Think of that!

The Fall Into Apostasy

After Joshua, a great and mighty servant of the Lord, died and his generation along with him, the next generation did not know God. Oh, they knew of God but did not know Him intimately or His word. They were no longer obedient to Him and did not cling to His ways!

The Book of Judges is very convicting to me! It is a lesson about what happens to individuals and nations when they are not committed to knowing and following the Lord. This is a very sad and eye-opening story about what happens when God is no longer important and at the very center of their lives.

Judges teaches us about what happens when we start doing what we think is best and not what God knows is best! The downward spiral and unraveling of a person and a society is jaw-dropping!

The Book of Judges is overwhelmingly relevant not only to us but also to our nation today!

To understand Judges, we need to gain some insight into the relationship between God and the nation of Israel.

God And The Nation Israel

God chose the people of Israel to be a light in a dark world. To shine so that as they lived and obeyed the Lord, they would show just who God was to a world that was mired in idolatry and spiritual darkness!

The Israelites were to be the way the whole world would come to know God. God promised to bless Israel greatly if they obeyed Him so all the world would wonder who the great and benevolent God of the Jews was. In ancient times, everyone believed in a god.  (Deut. 30)

But God also promised the people of Israel that if they turned away from Him and did not obey Him, He would punish them (Deut. 30) not because He was mean or spiteful but because of God’s righteous judgment. The people of Israel had made a covenant, better than a promise, and agreed to this deal. We need to remember that every evil act has a consequence. We can choose good or evil, but we must remember they both have consequences.

Evil In The Sight Of The Lord

Israel turned away from God, acted evil, and chose to not represent Him to the world around Him. So, God punished the Israelites as a way of waking them up so they would turn from their evil ways and turn back to Him. And in turning back to Him, the Israelites would again show the world who the real God was.  

During the time of Judges, the stubborn nation of Israel started a very dangerous downward spiral! They repeatedly turned away from God, steeped themselves in evil because they turned to their own ways and understanding, and fell into great trouble and great sin.

There is a verse that is repeated seven times in the book of Judges about the people of Israel and their heart condition: ” They did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

Turning away from God started a downward spiral of degeneration for the Israelites! Both nationally and personally.

This is how it happened…

The Israelites would forget God and do what they thought was best, sinning and turning their back on God’s word.

Then, God would punish them for their disobedience and disregard for being God’s representative in the world as a way of reminding them they were His chosen people.

Then, the people would cry out to the Lord when things got really bad for them. I find it so interesting that it was not until things got bad in their lives that they concerned themselves with God. It sounds like many of us today!

Then God would answer them and send them a leader called a Judge (really a warrior Chief) to set them on the right path of obedience to God and get them out of the trouble they were in.

Then, there would be peace and rest in the land until the Judge died.

And here is the scary thing: the cycle would start over and over again—seven times in 300 years!

And why did the nation of Israel sink into this downward spiral of disobedience and judgment?  It was a matter of THEIR EYES!

The Hebrew language is very literal. It uses lots of concrete words to define abstract ideas. The word eye in the context of Judges means “sight or perspective or arrogance.” During the time of Judges, the people did what they THOUGHT was right… not what WAS right. 

The whole book of Judges can be summed up in these few words…

Everyone did what was right in their own eyes. Judges 21:25

The Book of Judges can be a very eye-opening book! It shows us what happens to us when we forget God and go our own way. And it isn’t pretty! It shows us how we, too, can get caught in recreating the same sin over and over again because it is our very broken nature.

Thankfully, God has a cure for our eyes!!!! 

Fixing our eyes on Jesus the founder and perfected of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame and is seated at the right hand of God. Hebrews 12:2

Fixing, or looking at nothing else than Jesus, is a way to stop the cycle of our own eye problem!

And how do we do this? By bowing our knees to Jesus’ authority and kingship in our lives, living for Him and not for ourselves, Accepting His free gift of salvation, and becoming His disciples and Him alone!

Then, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, read, study, and obey the very Word of God! How can you know and see Jesus if you do not read and study your Bible?

Let’s not take our eyes off of Jesus! For if we do, we will develop the same eye problem the nation of Israel had in the time of the Judges! 

Thank you, God, for Jesus!

Here’s what I’m meditating on this week…

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. Matt 7: 22-27

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  1. Thank you for speaking light and truth into this dark world. I pray God will bless you greatly.

  2. This is a message that we as a nation a
    and the church need to take to heart. Well said.

  3. Elizabeth@pineconesandacorns says:

    Sadly the world is in terrible shape and every day it seems to be worse. So many do not believe in God or anything else for that matter and this number continues to fall every year.
    Thank you for sharing God and his message every week and giving us something to think about and ponder. Hopefully your sharing will have a ripple effect.
    HAve a wonderful day.

    1. May the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ save us and the whole World and have Mercy on us I pray. Fight the Good Fight
      with Love and Mercy and may God bless you Yvonne for speaking Truth in a world that disregards The Truth and conspires in deception as the deceiver has only a short time left…Do not fear for God did not give us a spirt of fear, but a gentle Loving Spirit drenched in Love and Mercy towards all MANKIND. Peace be with you all who read this, for those who believe In Jesus Christ you will see His face, and for many who do not now believe many will turn toward Him and that is a wonderful blessing, for all things Work in His Favor..

  4. Thank you for this post. It was great! And true! This describes our country and our world today. A Godless society we have become. As prophecy will unfold , and it has to , people hopefully will turn back to God. But it will take divine intervention for sure to wake people up. Whatever bad comes our way? We deserve it. We deserve the punishment that will come because people don’t care nor do they love or fear God . Just pray and hope and trust in his mercy … because it’s going to get worse!

    1. Not all of us deserve punishment; those of us who walk the walk by example and with love…continue to bring loving kindness to our world. I and mine among many, bring grace and compassion to whatever world we are faced with. We care. We love. We set aside fear and carry on.

  5. Tamara Scire says:

    I totally agree with this post. I’ve been in Judges in my Bible time and had some of the same thoughts. Keeping my eyes on Jesus and submitting to His will in my life everyday is the only way I keep on the “straight and narrow” in this “age”. The spirit of Deception is on a rampage right now and Christians are just as susceptible to it as anyone else unless our eyes are fixed on Jesus. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Sandi from Wisconsin says:

    So true! Our own nation needs to turn back to God, and follow the words and actions of his Son, Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, so many of our younger generation think they no longer need God in their lives. Church attendance is down. I hope and pray that Christians in our country will see the need to bring God back into their family structure. Sometimes it takes a nation wide disaster to have people turn back to God. Let’s hope it does not come to this.

    1. Tami Howse says:

      I think we had that disaster. It was called Covid.

  7. I too love the old testament stories and teachings. I always look forward to your Sunday messages.

  8. May we fix our eyes on Jesus 🙏🏼

  9. If the lesson isn’t learned it is doomed to be repeated. Thank you Yvonne for the reminder. Gods blessings always.

  10. Thank you for this message. We Christian believers need to speak up as you have. Our nation is falling away from Jesus and remembering that He is the only way, the Truth, and the life! We see too many people living their “own truth”, not God’s truth! Just as the Israelites were doing what they wanted, instead of seeking what God taught; such is what is happening now. We must speak up with love for others, but we must not fail to speak!

  11. Diane Thornton says:

    Very well written. Truthful. We as a nation here in the United States better wake up and heed the words of God, also. We have wandered far away from scripture and follow our own sinful desires. We have sugar coated, explained away, and made sin acceptable in our world today. Know and read the Bible. It is the truth of God and the ruler by which we should measure our actions.

  12. Very interesting Yvonne, thank you for sharing this information, and yes it does sound like many of us today, we must work on this so it’s important to talk about it and make changes…

  13. Thank you for sharing this word. I look forward to reading your Sunday messages. God bless you!