In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).
Some people think that humans would do best under no government whatsoever: every man would be responsible for himself and his own decisions. The Bible reveals how foolish such an idea really is.
Man is quite sinful, and his sin too often gets the better of him. In the time of the Judges, while Israel technically was subject to God, in reality, they decided for themselves what they were and were not going to do.
Did this lead them to follow the Law of Moses? Far from it! They served the Baals and the Asherah. They stole, made idols and called them YHWH, raped, slaughtered, turned blind eyes to kidnapping, and suffered greatly with internal conflict.
It is as Solomon and Jeremiah have established:
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; But the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12).
O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps (Jeremiah 10:23).
Government must exist to punish evil and praise good (Romans 13:1-6). It is within the Gospel message, however, that we learn that we cannot direct our own steps as we ought. We learn how we must instead trust in God, lean on Him for understanding and follow His paths (cf. Proverbs 3:5-7), and find the right path for our feet.
We may not have an earthly king, but we do have a Heavenly One, and we must do what is right in His eyes (1 John 2:1-6). Let us strive to do so today!
Ethan R. Longhenry