By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“With God life is an endless hope. Without God, life is a hopeless end.” – Bill Bright
There are some passages of Scripture that can be difficult to read. Especially in the Old Testament there are passages that describe murder, destruction, and sexual abuse. Many times, we can read these passages and wonder, “Why in the world are these things in the Bible?” Some people point to these explicit passages and use them as a way to speak against the validity of Scripture. How can the Holy Bible have passages about such horrible things? This just proves the Bible isn’t true!
To me, however, I think it is the opposite. I believe that these difficult to read passages can speak more to the legitimacy of Scripture than its falsity.
Take the book of Judges for example.
Here we see the people of God finally entering the promised land. They are called to follow God’s commands so that they can be His reflection to the world and to the nations around them. But what the book of Judges shows us is Israel’s complete failure to follow this call. Judges tells of Israel’s moral corruption and eventual downfall.
The book opens by telling of Israel’s failure to completely drive out the Canaanites from the promised land. Instead, they move in with them and begin adopting their sinful practices. This is the beginning of a vicious cycle that plagues God’s people for generations. They would sin against God and so God would allow them to be conquered by the Canaanites. But finally, they would realize the errors of their ways and repent. And so, God would send a deliverer, a judge, to release them from Canaanite rule. But then they would sin again, and the cycle begins anew.
These judges get progressively worse and more corrupt until the Israelites have completely lost their way. Things get so bad that you can’t even tell God’s people, who were supposed to be His reflection on earth, apart from the Canaanites.
Which brings us to the final section of Judges, which zooms out and shows us just how bad Israel has gotten. Israel has forgotten Yahweh and everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Murder, rape, war, and destruction runs rampant through the promised land and that is how the book of Judges ends.
Now, I don’t think that the biblical writer included these disturbing passages and stories to show that our God somehow condones these horrific acts, but instead I think it’s the complete opposite.
These tragic tales are meant to serve as a warning. This is what happens in a world that is void of God. This is what happens when we forget Yahweh and everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Destruction does not come from God, but it instead happens when we forget Him.
I think it is when we read these disturbing passages as we find in Judges, we can’t help but see the parallels in our own world. The death, destruction, and sexual crimes that manifested in the promised land are reflected in our world in things like school shootings, terrorist attacks, and human trafficking.
I’m not saying that the victims of these crimes are guilty of forgetting God and that is why bad things are happening to them. I’m saying that our world as a whole has forgotten Yahweh. We have turned our back on Him, and everyone does what is right in their own eyes.
In these disturbing passages we see in the Bible, we see our own humanness and brokenness reflected, and sometimes that makes them all the more disturbing.
Lord, let your light shine and your voice be heard in this broken world. We repent and invite you to come again.