I love the Old Testament! Most people think that's weird. When reading through the bible in a year, the Pentateuch is easy for me to get through. Yes, you see Israel quickly forget God's faithfulness and turn away, but they keep turning back to Him. Then Joshua continues along those same lines. In Joshua you see God deliver the nations into the hands of Israel as they take over the promised land. Then we hit the book of Judges.
The book of Judges is difficult for me. Upon a first reading, Judges reads like an action packed adventure. It is fast paced and stars characters that seem superhuman. But there is a problem, a phrase that continues screaming from the pages "again, Israel did evil in the sight of The Lord and He[allowed them to be ruled by]...."
But God didn't forget about them, He raised up judges. Judges who break the very law they are supposed to be keeping. Judges who sacrifice their children and break their vows to The Lord and are faithless. Sure, the action in the book is exciting until you realize that this is not a movie. Death and destruction and war and captivity are not fleeting bumps with a happy ending. The are the consequences of sin and idolatry.
Judges is a dark book. And it is summed up in just a few words, "in those days Israel had no king, everyone did as he saw fit." Those words are more indicting than at first glance. As we leave Judges and move to Samuel you will see this talk of Israel having a king come up again. It is a slap in the face of God. It is Israel rejecting God as their king. So, here when it says, "Israel had no king, everyone did as he saw fit", Israel rejected God's rule and God's law. Everyone lived in darkness. And the darkness is seen clearly in one of the most sin-filled book of the Bible. I'm glad we are moving on to Samuel.