Judges 21:25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
We may think we know a better way, but oh what pride and presumption! And where does our way lead? Proverbs sums it up this way: There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death (14:12).
Chapter 2 of Judges pretty much sums up what was going on with the Israelites during this time. The people served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had seen all the great things the LORD had done for Israel. . . . After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel. Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD . . . They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger. . . the hand of the LORD was against them. . . They were in great distress. Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these raiders. Yet they would not listen to their judges but prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped them. Unlike their fathers, they quickly turned from the way in which their fathers had walked, the way of obedience to the LORD's commands. Whenever the LORD raised up a judge for them, he was with the judge and saved them out of the hands of their enemies as long as the judge lived; for the LORD had compassion on them as they groaned under those who oppressed and afflicted them.
There was a continual cycle of disobedience, defeat, then a judge was raised up to deliver, then they would fall again into disobedience and defeat. The very last verse of Judges, which is our key verse today, sums up the problem. God Himself was their King but they did not revere Him as such. Instead, they went their own ways. Why not follow the One who is all-wise, all-knowing? He is Righteous; He is Just. The greatest truth from which we can live our lives is this: God is God and we are not! There is a standard for truth. Truth is truth and always will be. He is Truth. Why not let Him teach us?