By Lisa Nordell-Detres
Have you ever reflected on past decisions and said something like, “I did what I thought was best at the time.” There were times in the Old Testament in which the behavior of the people of Israel was summarized in this way, “each did what was right in his own eyes.” On the face of it, trying to do what is right is a noble thing, that is, unless one lives in a culture in which there is no clear standard on which to determine what is right and what is wrong. In the days of the Judges, the statement that everyone did what was right in his own eyes was preceded by “there was no king in Israel.” (Judges 17:6; 21:25)
Let it never be assumed that this nation lacked leadership. Israel was established and led by God through men and women who were assigned the task of counseling that great nation. The spiritual leadership of the people was dutifully provided by the Levite priests. The standard of right and wrong given to the people, the Ten Commandments with the Mosaic Law, was literally written in stone so they knew what was expected from them. The people had all of the elements of civilized governance, but since it was different than the surrounding countries, they petitioned to be ruled by a king. Samuel, a wise and Godly judge, was heartbroken by the demands of the people, but God assured him of what was really happening, “…they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (I Samuel 8:7)
I see this same mentality in people today. According to the American Bible Society, 85% of US households own an average of 4.3 Bibles. The issue of lawlessness is not for lack of information. We live in a land which has rejected God and many people want to do what is right in their own eyes. In conjunction with the DIY moral standards is the only rule written in stone, “Don’t judge me!” Regardless of how blatant the sin, those who have chosen to reject God’s standards refuse to even look into a mirror that shows them the error of their ways.
I am not advocating for Christians to run around pointing out the flaws in the lives of others. Christians need to get back to reading the Bible, draw closer to God in abject humility and clean up our own spiritual houses. The problem here is the same with the problems in Samuel’s day; God’s people rejected Him and in so doing, failed to make any positive impact on the world around them. We have to decide whether we will stand out from the crowd by living Godly lives or continue to reject God and blend in. It is OK to be different!
Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to two boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside.
Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.