23 March 2020

The Danger of Following Your Conscience

After the death of Moses, Joshua led the people of Israel into the Promised Land. The book of Judges takes place after he has died and Israel has been occupied by a foreign power, the Philistines. Often repeated throughout the book are variations on the statement, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6 WEB).

In a way, this is Israel's “Old West” period. There is no one to enforce the law, so people do whatever they like. Without a law, and without a government, the people are left to fend for themselves. The depravity to which the people of ancient Israel sank may best be demonstrated in Judges 17-18.

In this one story, there is idolatry, theft, covetousness, and murder. Four out of the ten commandments are broken by a family, a priest, and an entire tribe, simply because “everyone did that which was right in his own eyes.”

Authority figures are not always right. They fail as often as the rest of us flawed humans. But by following God, reading his word, being part of a community of faith, and following our spiritual leaders, hopefully we can do better than how we might if we were to simply follow our consciences.

Peace be with you.

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