Thursday, October 28
Judges 19:1-20:36 In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah...
What evidence do you find in these chapters that Israel has rejected God's law? What does it say about the value of human life when we turn away from God? The Levite took drastic steps to call for justice (19:29-30); how did that justice become uncontrolled revenge? How do you react when you learn about terrible injustice? Do you seek God's help in setting things right or do you choose your own methods?
As we close out Judges today and tomorrow, we come to our final story, and it is heartbreaking. This is the story of the Levite whose wife/concubine was murdered by the men of Gibeah. The Levite wants justice for this death and Israel assembles together to decide how to handle the situation. So the people and their leaders listen to what happened and then they all decide "as one man" to go up against Gibeah (Judges 20:8-11). Now before there was any fighting, the tribe of Benjamin is asked to give up the men of Gilead who committed the crime. They refuse and war breaks out. Day 1--Israel loses 22,000 men. Day 2--Israel loses an additional 18,000 men. Day 3--Israel defeats Benjamin.
Now here's what I noticed from this sad story. The people of Israel got it backwards. When the Levite presents his case to the assembly, the leaders and the people react emotionally. They don't seek God's direction or guidance but instead take justice into their own hands. It's only when they are putting their plan into action that they then seek out and inquire of the Lord.
What does this passage show us about seeking and following God's will? How do we get to the place where our first reaction is to think/ask "What is God's will for me in this situation?" Tami W.
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