March 30

Read Judges 20 -- 21

The tribe of Benjamin refused to allow justice to be carried out against the homosexual mob that gang-raped a defenseless Israelite woman, leading to her death (Judges 20:13). All the tribes of Israel united to execute judgment against them. God had demanded that the murderer shall be put to death. To allow a murderer to go unpunished would defile the land (Numbers 35:30,34).

The Israelites arose, and went up to the House of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to battle against the tribe of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up first. . . . The Benjamites came forth out of Gibeah, and killed that day 22,000 men of the Israelites (Judges 20:18,21). On the second day the Lord said, Go up against them. . . . And the Benjamites . . . destroyed 18,000 men of the children of Israel (20:23,25). Sin had hardened the conscience of the Benjamites and, as a result, they killed 40,000 Israelites who stood for moral, biblical truth.

Although the Israelites were right to judge sin and defend righteousness, they were again badly defeated. They had not recognized their need of offering a sacrifice to be in a right relationship with the Lord.

But, on the third day, all the Israelites . . . went up, and came to the House of God, and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord (20:26). In deep humility, they committed themselves to the Lord. True humility will often be expressed with weeping, fasting, and repentance. But, equally vital were the blood sacrifices, for it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul (Leviticus 17:11).

Only after they had built an altar and offered the sacrifices for their own need did the Lord say: Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand (Judges 20:28). The tribe of Benjamin was almost destroyed before the consequences of this wicked sin had been meted out.

There is growing indifference to immorality in our society similar to that which existed in the tribe of Benjamin. We have redefined sin with pleasant-sounding terms. Adultery is now called "having an affair." Homosexuality is replaced with "gay and lesbian," or "alternative lifestyles." Fornication is referred to as "live-in lovers." The purpose of this is always the same -- to remove the sense of guilt for violating God's moral Law, as well as to make everyone feel comfortable doing what is right in their own eyes (21:25). However, while hating and exposing sin, we must show mercy and kindness as we pray for and lovingly entreat the sinner.

All sin is abominable to our Holy God; however, all sin that is truly repented of and forsaken is forgiven through the atoning Blood of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians that some of them had been delivered from sexual sins when he wrote: Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind . . . And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (I Corinthians 6:9,11).

Christ Revealed: As our Deliverer (Judges 20:26,28). As we pray and seek the Lord's will, He delivers us from all evil forces (I Cor. 10:13).

Word Studies: 20:5 forced means raped; 20:6 lewdness means immoral, shameful conduct; 20:10 folly means wicked conduct; 20:29 set liers means set a secret ambush; 20:34 sore means fierce disaster; 20:45 gleaned means killed; 21:6 repented them means had compassion.

Prayer:

Government Official: Sen. Robert Smith (NH) · Pray for Rick Hash and the Bible Pathway Radio Broadcasts on WDRP-FM, Williamston, NC · Country: Burundi (6 million) in east-central Africa · Major languages: Kirundi and French · Losing religious freedom · 51% Roman Catholic; 12% animist; 11% Protestant; 1% Muslim · Prayer Suggestion: Praise the Lord with all your heart; tell others of the marvelous things He has done (Psalms 73:28).

Optional Reading: John 21

Memory Verse for the Week: Colossians 2:11