Judges 19-21 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
In those days, there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever he wanted. Judges 21:25
The last three chapters in Judges have been given the titles, “Outrage In Benjamin”, “War In Benjamin”, and “Brides For Benjamin”. There are profound lessons about the decline, judgment, and restoration of a people. It is important to view the end of Judges through the lens of Romans 11.
In chapter 19, there are two scenes that resemble tragic & shameful events in Scripture.
First, there is the image of the Levite and his entourage, searching out a place to stay the night. It is a picture of Joseph and Miriam (Mary) looking for shelter the night Yeshua was born. Then, there is the Sodom & Gomorrah-esque image of the perverted men of Gibeah wanting to sleep with the Levite man. The story is almost an exact re-telling, down the old man offering his virgin daughter. G_d was sending a message that the moral condition of Israel was far less than stalwart, as bad as it gets.
Judges 20 is an example of “righteous indignation”. That is, once the L_rd ordered Benjamin be destroyed, the rest of Israel put family relations aside in pursuit of G_d’s will. This begs the question: Have you avoided holding a family member or someone close to you accountable, because you don’t want to damage the relationship? Well, the truth is that the relationship is already damaged. Avoiding the “elephant in the room” will only prolong someone’s dysfunction. You should never value a relationship itself more than the wellbeing of the other person in the relationship. At that point, you’re only in the relationship for how it makes you feel. That’s not a relationship. That’s co-dependence.
Judges 21 is an example of G_d’s grace & mercy. Benjamin’s actions warranted their being destroyed. But G_d mercifully let a remnant survive to preserve Israel’s unity, and because of His faithful love. Moreover, He was gracious to allow them the ability to be restored in a manner that would give them hope in becoming a thriving, vital tribe again.
Our most valuable take-away from Judges is: There was no authority in Israel...not even G_d, so Israel did whatever seemed right to them. Often times, communities of G_d-less people seem to live in satistied harmony. But upon closer evaluation, it is revealed that their culture is barely held together under the strain and weight of G_d-less ways & means. For champions, it’s not enough to simply begin a race, or even to run it well. They are only in it, to win it! And we will never achieve victorious living by departing from G_d’s Word, or adding to it.
“But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I run straight toward the goal to win the prize that G_d’s heavenly call offers in Messiah Yeshua.” Philippians 3:13b-14
Daily Devotional, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014