Highlights In Today's Reading:
Civil war! Under the Lord's direction Judah goes first in battle. A tribe is nearly wiped out. Which one? Why? The entire episode is a sad picture of the sinful heart of those who would defend homosexuality and how the only hope for all sinners is Jesus Christ who can save us from every sin and give us power to overcome the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:16).
From Dan to Beersheba, all the tribes of Israel gathered to punish the sins committed at Gibeah by a few perverted men of Benjamin. Tolerance toward Benjamin would have been treason to Jehovah — a principle too often forgotten. Sixty-five thousand men died in three great battles, and the tribe of Benjamin was almost destroyed.
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 20:5,13). All the other tribes of Israel prayed: Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord said, Judah shall go up first (20:18).
It was only after two disastrous defeats at the hands of the Benjamites that they came unto the House of God, and wept . . . until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord (20:26). The Lord said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand (20:28). Note they offered sacrifices for their own sins. In deep humility, they committed themselves to the Lord. Clearly this illustrates how available our God is to provide guidance and victory when we submit ourselves to His Word. In the Scriptures we discover God's plan when our desire is simply to do His will.
There is a growing indifference to immorality in our affluent society. 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 new vocabulary is to remove the sense of guilt for violating God's moral Law and to make the sinner feel comfortable. However, while hating and exposing sin, we must also show mercy and kindness as we pray for and lovingly entreat all sinners to repent and come to Christ as Savior and Lord.
All sin is abominable to our holy God; however, all sin that is truly repented of and forsaken will be forgiven through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ (I John 1:9). The Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians that some of them had been delivered from sexual sins when he wrote: 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 (past tense) some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified (set apart), but ye are justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (I Corinthians 6:9-11).
Thought for Today:
When we make decisions without first praying for direction we often miss God's perfect will. Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts (Proverbs 21:2).
As our Deliverer (Judges 20:26,28). As we pray and seek the Lord's will, He delivers us from all evil forces. The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His Heavenly Kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever (II Timothy 4:18).
20:5 forced =b> raped; 20:6 lewdness =b> immoral, shameful conduct; 20:10 folly =b> wicked conduct; 20:29 liers =b> an ambush; 20:34 sore =b> a fierce disaster; 20:45 gleaned =b> caught, were cut off; 21:6 repented them =b> were sorry.
Pray for English International Shortwave Radio Broadcasts in memory of Iva Ann McElroy • Country: Iraq (22 million) in southern Asia • Major languages: Arabic and Kurdish • Fierce harassment of non-Muslims • 96% Muslim; 3% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Ask for your daily needs (Luke 11:3).
Optional Reading: John 21
Memory Verse for the Week: I Peter 1:23