“In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
“Anarchy” would be another appropriate name to describe the history of Israel between Joshua and Samuel. The Israelites became like the 19th century wild west. There was no law and like a film right out of the dusty landscape of Arizona, a lawman had to come into town to deliver the people and bring order to the land.
After Joshua’s death, more kingdoms needed to be wiped out before Israel could completely settle in the land. Judges 1:19-ff reveals how one tribe after another tried to conquer the land but failed. Israel lived scared and enticed most of these years.
The issue was not God. The issue was that Israel had become lawless. The people began to mingle with the wicked kingdoms and took part in their idol worship, which left them insecure and intimidated. They abandoned the strength of the Lord in favor of sin. Therefore, God made them servants of those kingdoms until they recognized a need for God. Then God raised up judges to deliver them. These judges were not perfect, but God used them to bring His people back into right fellowship with Him.
So what is the point for us today? Be careful how much of the world you are willing to embrace. If you mingle with carnality, victory will elude you. The world has some pleasure but offers no solutions to your struggles. Total surrender to Christ is always the better option.