Read Judges 20 -- 21
In Today's Reading:
As the other tribes punish the Benjamites for the horrible crime committed in Gibeah, they realize that one of their tribes was almost destroyed. Immediate steps were taken to keep them from extinction. The Book of Judges ends with the pitiful description of what happens to a people who will not obey the Lord's commands and who live as if there is no God.
Verses for Today:
The children of Israel arose, and went up to the House of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the tribe of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up first. . . . The children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed that day twenty and two thousand Israelites (Judges 20:18).
Civil war between the Benjamites and the other tribes; the Benjamites defeated; wives provided for the few remaining Benjamites.
The tribe of Benjamin refused to allow justice to be carried out against the homosexual mob that had gang-raped a defenseless Israelite woman, resulting in her death (Judges 20:13). The remaining tribes of Israel united to execute judgment against them. The Word of God states: The murderer shall be put to death. To allow a murderer to go unpunished would defile the land (Numbers 35:30), homosexuality also was punishable by death (Leviticus 20:13).
Sin had hardened the conscience of the Benjamites. As a result, they went to war and killed 40,000 fellow Israelites who stood for the Law of God.
Although all of the other tribes were right to judge sin and defend righteousness, they were badly defeated. They had not recognized their own need to first offer a sacrifice to God in order to be in a right relationship with Him.
But, on the third day, all the children of Israel . . . 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 (Judges 20:26).
Only after they had built an altar and offered the sacrifices for their own sin did the Lord say: Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand (20:28). The tribe of Benjamin was almost destroyed before the consequences of their wicked sin had been meted out.
Today, there is a growing indifference to immorality in our society which is similar to that existing in the tribe of Benjamin. We have redefined sin with pleasant-sounding terms. Adultery is now called "having an affair." Fornication and other sex sins are referred to as "alternative lifestyles." The purpose of this is always the same -- to remove the sense of guilt for violating the moral Laws of God, as well as to make everyone feel comfortable doing what is right in their own eyes (21:25).
As followers of Christ, we hate and expose sin while we are to pray for, and lovingly entreat, sinners to receive Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives.
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, and what he wrote still offers hope to many: 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 . . . shall inherit the Kingdom of God. 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 (1 Corinthians 6:9).
A Thought from Psalms: Your hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn Your Commandments (119:73).
As our Deliverer (Judges 20:26). As we pray and seek the Lord's will, He delivers us from all evil forces (see 1 Corinthians 10:13).
20:5 forced = raped; 20:6 lewdness = immoral, lustful conduct; 20:10 folly = wicked conduct; 20:29 set liers = set a secret ambush; 20:34 sore = fierce disaster; 20:45 gleaned = met their death; 21:6 repented them = had compassion for them; 21:10 valiantest = bravest.
Government Official: Sen. Robert Smith (NH) · Pray for your Sunday School Teacher · Country: Angola (11 million) in west-central Africa · Major languages: Portuguese and Bantu dialects · Christianity is gradually being driven underground by communism · 60% Roman Catholic; 20% Protestant; 5% belief in ancestor spirits, witches, and medicine men · Prayer Suggestion: Do not be fearful or live in dread of what might happen; trust the Lord to take care of you (Psalms 112:7).
Optional Reading: John 21
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 5:16