Cautionary tales and the book of Judges


The book of Judges ends with the horrific account of the gang rape of a man’s girlfriend in Israel. What’s the main message of Judges chapters 19 to 21 for us today? I believe the chapters are a cautionary tale.  If we live without a king who commands us to do the right thing then everyone does what feels best at the time and that is not good.

I used a couple of road safety videos in a sermon on these chapters to illustrate the way the book works for us today; lessons from the past are cautionary tales for us today.

The cautionary tale of the girl who didn’t dress bright to be seen has similarities to the repetition of a line in Judges 18:1, 19:1 and 21:25:

In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

We are warned not to live without a king who rules over us and tells us all what is right and wrong.  King Jesus is God’s chosen ruler. He commands us not to sin but does not condemn us when we fail. Do not live without him.

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you [for adultery]?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” [John 8:10-11]

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