READ: Judges 17-18
THINK: Do you like to do your own thing-to be your own person? When you were younger, could you hardly wait until you could make all of your own choices and do whatever you pleased? Perhaps you're still waiting. Or maybe you've found that making all your own decisions isn't as easy or pleasant as you thought it would be. While doing your own thing may be preferable to following the crowd and doing what everyone else is doing, it's not a good thing when it means disregarding God and choosing your own way over His. In a culture that encourages people to determine their own truth, the truth of God's Word is cast aside and people lose all sense of positive restraint. While allowing everyone to do as they please may seem ideal, the book of Judges reveals the chaos and corruption that characterizes any society that abandons God and disregards His guidelines.
RESPOND: How did most people during the time of the judges determine what moral, religious and social standards to follow? (See 17:1 note.) What effect did this have on Israel's culture at the time? What problems arise when everyone does as he or she sees fit? (See 17:6 note.) What happens to a person's ability to make spiritual and moral judgments when people disregard God? (See 17:5 note.) How can doing what we think is right still be evil by God's standard? (See 17:6 note.) In what ways is a "do-your-own-thing" attitude evident today, and what are the effects? What eventually happens to people who forget God's truth and follow their own desires? (See 17:6 note.) Why do many people think they can determine their own spiritual standards and still have God's blessing (17:10- 12)? Why were the Danites willing to put their trust in religious images, items idols, and a hired priest? What did the priest's attitude and actions indicate about the spiritual conditions at that time? (See 18:20 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you keep your life clear of distractions so you can clearly recognize His standards and His guidance. Then pray for the wisdom and passion to choose God's ways rather than your own.
ACT: Have you made significant choices lately without consulting God or considering what He wants? God doesn't expect you to look for a Bible verse or wait for a sign each time you make a decision, but He does expect you to be mindful of Him, honor Him and reflect His character in all you do. It should become a way of life. If you need to rethink any recent decisions, behaviors or actions, do so today. Instead of doing as you please, do what pleases God.
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