The Walking Dead, The Book of Judges, and Us

12 Mar

“In those days there was no king in Israel.  Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
-Judges 21:25

One of the things that has been intriguing in recent episodes of The Walking Dead (yes, I watch it on occasion) has been the developing tension between two groups of people.  One group, led by the main character of the show, Rick Grimes, is held up in a prison, while the other group, led by the infamous “Governor”, resides in the walled city of Woodbury.  Over the course of the last few episodes, the two groups have fought with one another, and are building up toward what seems like an inevitable war.

This is but one of the many occasions–oftentimes violent–over the course of the show’s history that have led me back to the Book of Judges, and a line that is repeated in its latter chapters: In those days there was no king in Israel.  Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. In a post-apocalyptic world, in which the Bible (and all religion for that matter) serves merely as a source for moral platitudes and a fanciful source of false hope, this is the reigning view of life.

It wasn’t much different in the times of the Israelites, who were strangers in a land promised to them by God, and yet was inhabited by intimidating, strong peoples.  Though the Lord God delivered them time and again, the refrain was always, “And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.”  And why?  Because everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

The same thing is true today.  Especially in our relativistic culture, in which truth is determined by the individual, and all religions have “similar”, and “equally good” elements to them, everyone does what is right in his own eyes.  The consequences of this are seen in the violence, fear, oppression, hatred, and countless other destructive ways individuals, communities, states, and governments relate to one another.  When everyone does what is right in his own eyes, we frequently get it wrong and sin against one another.  And yet, we sin against another, one who has given us an objective, authoritative way: The Lord God.  We do not need a zombie apocalypse to reveal to us the depravity of man.  We need only to look around us; to look at ourselves.

Yet, look at Judges 21:25 again:

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

It may have been that there was no king in Israel in those day, but the day would come when God did give them a king.  And this king pointed to one yet to come, who would be the Savior King.  This Savior King would sacrifice Himself for His people, to cover their sins and present them as acceptable before God, and then rise again from the dead in glory to ascend to His heavenly throne over all things.  This Savior King was and is Jesus Christ.

So as much as we like to do what is right in our own eyes, its ultimately unsustainable.  It was treason against the God who in the days of Judges reigned (even though His reign was greatly disrespected), and, today, it is treason against the Savior King who reigns even now (whether we acknowledge Him or not).  Yet, despite our rebellion, despite our rejection of Him, despite the evil we do, this King offers to us the love of God–the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with the Father, acceptance as sons and daughters, an eternal inheritance, and entry into the New Kingdom.

All we must do is be willing to acknowledge our sin, trust in His saving work on our behalf, and set our face to follow after the True Way (Jesus Christ).  And as we experience the love of God in Christ Jesus, and His marvelous grace, we can change from doing what is right in our own eyes to doing the will of the God, “what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)”

 

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