Highlights In Today's Reading:
Civil war! Under the Lord's direction Judah goes first. A tribe is nearly wiped out. Which one? Why? The entire episode is a sad picture of the sinful heart of man and how the only hope for mankind is a Savior who can save them from sin and give them power to overcome evil.
The Book of Judges closes with illustrations of the moral and spiritual depravity that existed at that time. The loyalty to the Lord that prevailed in Joshua's day was followed by lawlessness, immoraility, and finally apostasy. Perverted spiritual and moral standards always exist when the Word of God is ignored and every man . . . (does) that which was (is) right in his own eyes (21:25) rather than what is right in the eyes of God. Conscience is only a true guide when it is guided by His Word.
When the Word of God is ignored, people enthrone "self" and soon turn to the immoral conduct of their sin nature. The tribe of Benjamin refused to allow justice to be done to the homosexual mob that gang-raped a defenseless Israelite woman causing her death (Judges 20:13). All the other tribes of Israel united to execute judgment against the offenders and war was declared. Following two defeats, the other tribes came unto the House of God, and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and they fasted that day until evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord (20:26). In deep humility, they inquired of the Lord (20:27).
It was only after they had fasted and offered the required sacrifices for their own sins that the Lord said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand (20:28). The tribe of Benjamin was almost destroyed before the deserved judgment for this wicked sin had been meted out.
There is a growing indifference to immorality in our society that is similar to what existed in the tribe of Benjamin. Four times we are reminded: In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes (17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). The way of a fool (one who despises wisdom) is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise (Prov. 12:15).
In the midst of anarchy and unbelief, God always has a faithful remnant who withstand the pressures and pleasures of sin and live to please Him. Everyone lives to please someone — ourselves, other people, or the Lord.
Jesus said: If ye love Me, keep My Commandments (John 14:15) and The Spirit of Truth . . . will guide you into all truth (16:13), while Paul urged: Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18).
Thought for Today:
Sin always becomes progressively worse, lust eventually becomes action and its wages lead to death. The only cure is repentance and forgiveness through Jesus Christ (James 1:14-15).
As our Deliverer (Judg. 20:26-28). As we pray and seek the Lord's will, He delivers us from all evil forces. Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world according to the will of God (Gal. 1:3-4).
20:5 forced =raped; 20:6 lewdness and folly =licentiousness and disgrace; 20:13 Be'lial =worthless perverts; 20:34 sore =fierce; 20:35 drew the sword =were experienced soldiers; 20:38 sign =signal; 20:40 flame ascended up to heaven =sent up in flames; 20:41 amazed =terrified; 20:42 turned their backs =retreated, fled; 20:43 trod them down =overtook them; sunrising =east; 20:45 gleaned =were cut off; 20:46 fell =died; men in valour =valiant warriors; 21:7 to wives =in marriage; 21:9 numbered =counted in a census; 21:13 call peaceably =proclaim peace; 21:23 repaired =rebuilt.
Pray for Staff: Benjamin Wallace • Country: French Guiana (168,000) on the northern coast of South America • Major language: French • Religious freedom • 85% Christian; 9.5% non-Religious/Other; 2% Muslim • Prayer Suggestion: Rejoice that our Savior lives (John 20:15-18).
Optional Reading: John 21
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 6