“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
The words of Scripture speak clearly of the value of true leadership, the vacuum that exists in its absence, and the consequences that follow where leadership is not present. Every person needs leadership, both divine and human. God uses people in positions of leadership to provide direction and counsel to His children. No man or woman is without human error; therefore, there are no perfect leaders.
We should be able to recognize and thank God for how He has used others to teach and lead us, helping us make decisions that have proven to be in our best interest. Yet, every individual does not desire or respect the value of leadership. There are multitudes that would prefer to live without the counsel or authority of others. Children rebel against the leadership of their parents. Church members resent the authority and position of their shepherd. This passage says that the consequences of life without leadership are that “every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” For some, this probably sounds like a dream come true.
Imagine life without leadership, without someone supervising you, without accountability. Where there is no respect for ordained authority, people are left with their own opinions or preferences. What if everyone were free to do whatever is “right in his own eyes”? Young people may think their lives would be nearly perfect without the restrictive leadership of parents; in reality, it would be just the opposite. Though a leadership-free world may seem like a utopia to some, it would be a very dangerous existence. The Bible teaches us that it is not wise to be without counsel or advice. “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise” (Proverbs 12:15). If we were able to always do what seems right to us, without the wisdom and counsel of others and without the accountability of leadership, the end would be destructive.
Two times the Bible warns us with the words, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25). Always having our way, or being free to make every decision based on our personal preferences, would not be good for any of us. It is in His wisdom that God provides able leadership.