Monday, September 14, 2015

Monday, September 14: Judges 19-21; John 6:1-21 by Pamela

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Judges 19-21; John 6:1-21

You can't really read the passage from Judges without opening your eyes in disbelief, shaking your head in wonder, and scratching your head in confusion. What kind of story is this? Drunkenness, homosexual propositions, gang rape, physical abuse, murder, dismemberment, lying, fighting, and more. The writers of Criminal Minds and CSI can hardly come up with some of the atrocities of today's OT reading.

I did some googling and found this here in which the Pastor attempts to describe the character of the Levite:

"Now, here is the telling scene about the kind of man the Levite was. When the men wouldn’t listen to the old man, verse 25 tells us that the Levitetook his concubine and set her outside to them; they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. Verse 26reads, “at daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.”

The Levite didn’t protest against the wicked men of Gibeah. He didn’t stand up for his concubine, his wife. Instead, to save himself from being raped, he gave his concubine into the wicked gang of men to be raped and abused. He had the appearance of religiosity when he wanted to stay in a town belonging to the Israelites. But, the Levite was a man who only looked out for himself.

What was he doing during the night while his wife, his concubine was being raped by a group of gang? Verse 27 says, “When her master got up in the morning and opened to the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold.” He slept through the night comfortably while his concubine was being raped and abused; when he woke up he got himself ready to leave; when he was about to step outside of the house he saw his concubine lying motionless by the threshold.What did he say to her? Verse 28, “Get up; let’s go.” Cold, loveless… no wonder the concubine left this man. With no answer from her, he put her on his donkey and set out for home. No mention of tears, moaning… nothing from him!"

The Levite was just looking out for himself. He didn't care about the girl. His further dismemberment of her body and sending it out further indicates his lack of compassion for the woman. He further violates her by lying about what happened:

"When the rest of the Israelites received the dismembered body parts of the concubine, they were enraged; at Mizpah, a near city to Gibeah, they enquired the Levite of what happened. Verse 5, he told them, “During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died. I took my concubine, cut her into pieces and sent one peace to each region ofIsrael’s inheritance, because they committed this lewd and disgraceful act in Israel.” Listening to his story, it sounds like he was a helpless victim, a caring husband. But, we know that they weren’t after him to kill him. They were after him to have sex with him. And he conveniently skipped the part about how his concubine ended up outside of the house. It was he who pushed her outside to save himself.
The Levite gave them an embellished account of what happened. With the witness of this one man, without investigating further to learn what really happened, the Israelites reacted as one man. Verse 11 says, “So all the men of Israel got together and united as one man against the city.” Each tribe sent out 10 percent of their people to deal with the men of Gibeah."

I think what it really comes down to is summed up in the very last verse of the OT passage:

25 At that time there was no king in Israel. People did whatever they felt like doing.

People did whatever they felt like doing. Isn't that the state of our society today? We don't have to look very far to find the same evil. We live in a world that preaches if it feels right to you then it is good. Babies are murdered and mutilated  (and pieces sold for profit). Sex is not sacred between a husband and wife but a little searching online normalizes everything from casual sex, affairs, homosexual relationships, sex with animals, and celebrates transgender individuals as heros. Lying, stealing, and cheating become normal behaviours as society embraces political candidates that exhibit these characteristics. "At that time there was no king in Israel" We may have political figures in power but they are swayed easily by the minority and at the whim of political correctness. As a society, we are lacking a King--one who would protect us from doing whatever we felt was right in order to protect us from ourselves and our selfish ways.

We should be willing to serve a King that is worthy. A King who knows what is right and good and leads us away from what will harm us. Jesus is that King. He can feed the hungry (with leftovers!!) and walk on water. 

We have been given free will. We have the freedom to choose. So many choose so poorly and one day will have to answer for their choices to the King of Kings.

Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Lamentations 1-2; John 6:22-44


Nathan Reimer said...

This storey in Judges, and the comparison to our current wicked society, just goes to show that man needs God. We need a leader to surrender ourselves to. If left unchecked, man goes off and starts doing evil.

TammyIsBlessed said...

Clearly there is a parallel between Judges 19 and Genesis 19, and we see that the Israelites have stooped to the moral level of the Canaanites.

This passage is repulsive on so many levels. Clearly, the attempted homosexual rape of the Levite, the offering of the old man's virgin daughter and the Levite's concubine for the men to abuse, the Levite himself forcing his concubine/wife outside to be gang raped, his unconcern for her the following morning, his dismemberment of her body, the Israelites playing one vow off another in order to find wives for the Benjamites to avoid the distinction of that tribe, including the stealing/raping/marrying of 200 virgins - it goes on and on!

We look at this passage and are rightfully disgusted at the moral depravity of the Israelites. But do we hate our own sin that much? We all have sins we love to hate - incidentally the ones that don't happen to tempt us. But do we hate ALL sin? And, more importantly, do we hate all OUR OWN personal sin? We are so quick to point the finger at the sins of those around us all the while rationalizing or trivializing our own sin. Of course some sins come with more serious consequences than others, but all sin is a grievous offense against God, not just the ones we love to hate.

This passage brings us face to face with the reality of the depravity of man, and our utter inability to save ourselves. We are truly in desperate need for the saving grace of Jesus Christ. He is the bread of life.

Conrad said...

The book of Judges proves that when left on our own, we fail miserably.