Thursday, March 3, 2011

The danger of "what seems right"


I've been thinking about something I read a couple of weeks ago in the Old Testament.  In Judges 17:6 and Judges 21:25, scripture records that during a time when the Israelites had no king, "the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes" and I've come to realize how dangerous a practice that was for them and is for us today.  On the surface, it seems like a good idea.  If I don't have anyone in authority over me to determine and dictate what is right or wrong, it seems not only reasonable but prudent to take on that responsibility myself.  Wouldn't this be better than just doing whatever seems to benefit me?  Surely my judgment is better than no judgment, right? The flaw in this thinking is revealed as you continue to read. 

I'm about halfway through the book of 2 Samuel in my reading of the Bible this year and time after time, I read of the bad decision that the Israelites made.  Whether they had a king or not, many of the decision that they made were poor ones.  Shoot  . . . even many of the decisions that the kings made were poor ones!  The dabbled in idolatry, raped their sisters, they brutally killed folks just for delivering bad news to them, and more.  It seems that no one can be trusted to do "what seems right in their own eyes."  I believe that the Jews were God's chosen people but even so, they were a sorry lot.

That, then, raises the question:  Can any of us be trusted to do what seems right in our own eyes?  I think the answer is simply, "No."  "Follow your heart" may look good on a Hallmark greeting card but it's bad advice in life.   Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that "the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure."  If my heart and your heart can't be trusted, who's heart can be trusted?  The more I read the Old Testament, the better I understand it's purpose to point us to the need for a Savior.  We are hopeless and helpless without God's forgiveness and his leadership in our lives.  I, for one, am thankful to know who's eyes and heart I can trust even when my own fail me.

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