TODAY’S READING: JUDGES 18-21
The corruption of the Tribe of Dan; the wickedness of the Gibeonites; the division between the Tribe of Benjamin and the rest of Israel; the destruction of the Tribe of Benjamin.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
As we finish the Book of Judges today, it’s vital that we recall where we are in this point of Israel’s history. After several years of COMPLACENCY, summarized in chapters one and two, Israel entered into a long period of COMPROMISE, found in chapters three through sixteen. During that time, God’s people endured seven major cycles of oppression at the hands of those over whom the Lord had previously given victory. The final five chapters of the Book of Judges sadly describes for us the CORRUPTION that ultimately takes place when they forgot God and His Word! Some of the most bizarre stories in all of scripture appear in this final part of the Book of Judges. Remember, the key to understanding this whole book is found in the last verse of the final chapter... “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”
In chapter 18, the Tribe of Dan convinces Micah’s own personal priest whom he called “father” (see Jud. 17:10) to leave with them to be the whole Tribe’s priest (Jud. 18:19). This, of course, was appealing to the priest because he was getting a promotion, so to speak. He was so excited about this “promotion” that he stole Micah’s ephod (“priestly garment”), teraphim (“household idol”), and graven image (Jud. 18:20) so he could perform his priestly duties for the Tribe of Dan. Micah was, of course, devastated by this, because they stole his religion and he had nothing left to live for (see his own words in Jud. 18:24). Watch out for any religion or “faith” that can be stolen! It cannot resist the weapons of warfare (vs. 11, 16-17), its’ priest will not stand by you (vs. 18-20), its’ congregation can only cry out in despair with you (vs. 22-23), and its’ final end is heartache and loss (vs. 24-26). You can’t steal the “religion” of someone who has been truly born again a!
nd trusted Christ for their salvation, because it’s not a “religion”, it’s an eternal “relationship” with the Creator as your Father!
In chapter 19, a Levite sets out on a long journey to recover his unfaithful concubine, who, consequently is abused all night long until the dawning of the day, at which time she is divided by the sword. Although this isn’t a perfect picture by any means, it still typifies for us that Jehovah God will come back in the morning to look for His unfaithful wife, the Nation of Israel, who is spiritually dead to Him. This just happens to be the book of Judges; at this point there is no king and Israel is dead to God. But in the Book of Ruth, a Jewish kinsman redeemer takes a gentile bride to himself, then the Son of David (Solomon) will come back to give Israel life again.
Chapters 20 and 21 teach us the story of how Israel decides to deal with this despicable sin that happened within their borders (the abusing of the concubine by the men of Gibeah). There is a division between the men of Israel and the Tribe of Benjamin over this issue though. Benjamin takes the side of the Gibeonites and decides to fight against Israel. Isn’t it amazing, the depths that sin will take you! The Benjamites actually wanted to defend the wickedness of the Gibeonites! What does that tell you about the moral state of this tribe at this time? The Tribe of Benjamin was defeated by Israel in the war and it appeared that the sin at Gibeah had been dealt with. The only problem is that history teaches us they never truly repented, because once again, they returned to their sinful ways. All of chapter 21 is a counterfeit repentance that does nothing more than make them feel good about themselves for “dealing with the sin”. When you “deal with the sin in your life,” do you truly repent and turn from your sin? Or, do you go right back to doing that which you supposedly “repented” of?
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
Through THE HOUSE OF GOD – Judges 20:18; God’s dwelling place among His people Israel. Unfortunately, this corrupt time in Israel is much like the Laodicean church period (Rev. 3:14-22), where God is on the outside looking in, while the people think He’s in their midst!
As the LEVITE – Judges 19:1 – see Highlights and Insights