February 26, 2019

JUDGES 17-21   


Focus Verses For Today: Judges 17:6 and 21:25


Take a few moments and pray for God’s guidance and wisdom for today’s journey.  Ready?  Read Judges 17 through 21.  Let’s begin!  


Judges 17 begins with a man named Micah learning that his mother cursed the person that took eleven hundred shekels of silver from her.  Micah confesses and returns the stolen property to his mother.  Micah’s mother is so delighted that he returned the silver to her that she consecrates it to the Lord, on Micah’s behalf, to have an idol overlaid with the stolen silver, giving him the idol to put in his house.  Micah had a shrine in his home where he kept his household gods.  Micah appointed his son, a priest, to watch over his household idols.  Micah encounters a young Levite priest whom he hires to be his personal priest.  Micah wanted God’s blessings without being completely dedicated to God.  Israel was turning from the true God.  (Judges 17:1-13) 


Judges 18 begins with the tribe of Danites seeking a place to dwell.  They forsook the territory God had given them.  As they explored for the appropriate place to settle, they came to Micah’s house, where they spoke with the young Levite.  They learned of Micah’s wealth from him.  They also asked him to inquire of the Lord to learn if their journey would be successful.  The Levite told them their journey would be successful; however, there is no evidence he consulted the Lord.  They chose to take Laish because the people there were peaceful and far from anyone who would help them.  The scouting party gathered their forces to return to siege Laish.  On their way to Laish, they returned to Micah’s home where they took his household idols and convinced his personal priest to join them.  Micah pursued them to retrieve his property, catching them, only to be warned by them that he wasn’t strong enough to defeat them, so he returned home rather than lose his life.  The Danties captured Laish and renamed it Dan.  They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh. (Judges 18:31) The tribe Danities became lawless criminals. (Judges 18:1-31)


Chapter 19 begins with a Levite, who lived in the hill country of Ephraim, seeking to recover his wife who had left him to return to her parents in Bethlehem.  The Levite goes to Bethlehem and his wife agrees to return to Ephraim with him.  They left Bethlehem so late in the day they were required to spend a night in Gibeah an Israelite city.  The Levite sat in the city square but no one asked them to stay the night, as was the custom.  After some time, an old man invites them to stay at his home.  Some wicked men appear at the old man’s house and want to rape the Levite.  They settle for raping the Levite’s concubine.  The rape resulted in her murder.  The Levite cut up his concubine, and sent the pieces to all the tribes of Israel.  This action was a call to go to war against the tribe of Benjamin. (Judges 19:1-30)


Chapter 20 shows how Israel had turned its back on God.  The tribe of Benjamin refused to turn over the murderers of the concubine.  Although the other tribes consulted God, it took them three attempts to defeat the tribe of Benjamin.  In victory, the Israelites killed every woman and child of the tribe of Benjamin.  They allowed 600 warriors of the tribe of Benjamin to survive. (Judges 20:1-48)


Chapter 21 tells how the Israelites arrived at a plan for the surviving Benjaminite’s to have wives so the tribe would not cease to exist.  It is a sad story. (Judges 21: 1-25)


Our focus verses for today:

In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.  (Judges 17:6 and 21:25, NIV)


Today’s journey could take hundreds of pages to fully explore, but our focus verses succinctly explain what happened to Israel.  They had no king because they turned from God to worship idols.  (Micah) They did not follow the instruction of God.  The Danites did not inhabit the land God had allotted them because they did not trust God to conquer it for them.  They relied on their own understanding and perceived strengths, becoming nothing more than common criminals stealing Micah’s idol.  The tribe of Benjamin would not turn over the rapists and murderers to be dealt with in accordance with the commands God had given them, leading to their near-total destruction.  The manner in which the remaining tribes of Israel decided to provide wives to the 600 soldiers of the tribe of Benjamin shows the chasm that has developed between God and His twelve tribes.  


Take out you journals if you are journalling!  Warm up you brain if you are contemplating!  The twelve tribes of Israel during the period of Judges represents our culture today.  We want God’s blessings without surrendering ourselves over to Him.  Many want to live in sin, expecting a lot of grace like the Israelites of the Judges period.  Time to write!  Time to contemplate!  How do we protect ourselves from becoming  complacent in our faith?  You know, making sure envy, a form of idol worship, is in check while striving to seek and live our lives in reflection of God’s will.  Godspeace!


 For more information regarding financial support, please click here.