Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins


Meditation for the week of February 15, 2009

Judges 17:6, 21:25
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

When the nation of Israel was delivered out of Egypt, they became God’s special people.  As they traveled through the wilderness, He gave them a lot of laws to obey.  Some of them had to do with diet, some had to do with sacrifice and the tabernacle, some had to do with diseases, and some had to do with moral issues. Some had to do with separation from those worshiping other Gods.  Guarding these truths was necessary to be considered worshipers since devotional obedience is the basis of our worship.   The Lord says “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams (1Samuel 15:22).”  I wonder if they always understood the reason behind some of the laws or if they did what they were asked to do just because they were asked to do it? 

When we look at their dietary laws, I wonder if they understood how bad animal fat was for a person.  They were to trim the fat off of their animals and burn it on the altar to the Lord.  They were to bleed the animal thoroughly and then not eat the blood which probably saved them from being exposed to blood related animal diseases.  Most of the unclean animals of the old testament were either meat eaters or scavengers or animals that we now know were likely to carry disease.  While we have modern means to overcome some of these dietary problems, eating a Jewish diet based on their laws would have been a healthy way to eat. 

When we look at the tabernacle and the way they were to worship the Lord, they were given specific instructions as to how to build and what materials to use.  I am sure that they did not understand that the tabernacle would teach us a lot about the Lord Jesus in new testament times.  But since different parts of the tabernacle were built by different people, can you imagine how this elaborate tent would have looked when they began erecting it if each part had not been built according to the pattern?

The priests functioned as doctors when it came to keeping infectious diseases under control  When a person was afflicted with what was then known as leprosy, they were to be placed outside the camp and they were to warn others that were approaching them that they were unclean.  This kept the infections from spreading.

The moral issues of incest and adultery were given for the benefit of a smoothly running society and to keep genetic problems as well as the diseases that come with sexual immorality under control.  Obeying these laws would have made them a healthier happier people.

Keeping the Israelites separate or holy was designed to keep them from being attracted to people who would tempt them to worship other Gods.  Solomon in all his wisdom violated this principle and it ultimately led to a divided kingdom. 

By the time they came to the end of the period in their history where judges ruled, things had deteriorated to where “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” rather than every man doing what God had decreed.  They didn’t respect the judges that ruled over them and they didn’t seem to care what their own law said.  As a result, bad things began happening in Israel and our verses sandwich an event that almost left Israel without the tribe of Benjamin. 

As Christians, we may not fully understand why God has given us some of the new testament commands that He has, but I am convinced that they are given to us for a reason.  If we walk by faith and not by sight, we should be faithful to what God desires and not do what is right in our own eyes.  We should  worship the Lord by obeying Him because of our devotion to the Lord and because God really does know what will bless us.

Bruce Collins

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