Every good story must eventually come to an end. But when we look at certain books in the Bible, we may be surprised at how many end so terribly. The book of Judges is like that: it depicts one of the darkest moments in Israel’s checkered history, filled with truly gruesome, disturbing stories. And it all spirals downward, so that the end is worse than the beginning. By the last chapters of Judges, one horror follows another, until it seems like there is nothing redemptive at all. It looks like complete darkness without any glimmer of hope.
Stories like this may remind us of our time, too. Most of us, regardless of which side of the political aisle we prefer, are genuinely concerned about where our country is headed. That’s precisely why the dark ending of Judges is, ironically, hopeful and encouraging—because it shows us that what feels like the end of the story may only be one small chapter in something much larger.