Judges: How Low Can They Go?

March 18, 2021 at 12:24 PM 6 comments

Quick update: Our daughter and her new son are doing well. Thanks to all who have been praying about this situation. For someone born 10 weeks early, little Caleb is actually doing remarkably well. He is breathing on his own but hooked up to a CPAP machine as a precaution. His APGAR score was very high and he was born at 4 pounds 8 ounces (and 16.5″ long), more than a pound more than what the doctor thought he weighed last week while still in the womb. Of course God is in the details and has a reason for this early birth; a reason we may never fully understand in this life.

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Reading through the book of Judges (believed to have been penned by Samuel, though there is no absolute proof of it), is difficult to do and remain buoyed up. Yes, there are parts that are very uplifting, but we often see Israel in the throes of abject apostasy. They had sunk so low they had adopted the sexual and religious perversions of the Canaanites during Lot’s day who wanted to “know” the angels who had come to Sodom to destroy it. We also see evidence of this in the book of Ruth and Samuel, especially with respect to Eli’s two sons who served as priests (and we’ll talk about them in another article.) This is exactly the type of downward spiral that the apostle Paul spoke of in his opening chapter of the book of Romans.

The book of Judges represents about 450 years in the life of Israel, however much of the book focuses on roughly 150 years when things were at their lowest point throughout Israel. We repeatedly read, “there was no king in Israel.”

Judges opens with the death of Joshua and the war between Israel and the Canaanites after his death. But as the latter portion of chapter 1 notes, Israel wasn’t even able to fully accomplish that; eliminating the Canaanites from the Land. This was due to Israel’s lack of trust in the Lord brought about by their own idolatry and careless setting aside of the Mosaic Law. This should be a lesson for all of us as we sojourn through life; how easy it is to fall if we are not careful.

Chapter 2 starts out by specifically noting Israel’s disobedience to the Lord. Because they had failed to drive out the lawless, godless people of the Land and destroy altars to false gods, as God had commanded, God announced that He was going to allow those same godless people to become thorns in the flesh for Israel. The people then cried and sacrificed to God as if that alone was going to make any difference. It didn’t because no change in attitude or lifestyle occurred.

God’s commands are clear in His word, but of course, it is our responsibility to actually know His Word. Yet we often ignore His Word preferring to revel in our own sinfulness and continue to believe that God will “bless” us because we are His children and because God is full of “grace” toward us. It’s all about grace for too many Christians, when in point of fact, God actually does expect us to live holy (separated) lives. Imagine that. Unlike Israel during Judges, God through His Spirit truthfully lives within us and will empower us to do what He expects if we lean on Him and His strength to do that. It is better to acknowledge the times we sin rather than attempt to make excuses for ourselves as too many are prone to do today.

Because of Israel’s continued unfaithfulness, the Lord chose to raise up “judges.” These were individuals who offered some form of leadership for a specific purpose and span of time. For instance, Samson’s appointed job was to destroy the Philistines (Judges 13-15). Unfortunately, he failed to do all that God wanted him to do, though he clearly repented at the end of his life.

Many of the 14 judges are simply named and only noting how long they judged. Not much more is provided. There are a few judges with whom the Scriptures elaborates and provides a great many details, like Deborah and Barak, Samson, Gideon and a few others. In almost all cases, the Lord reminds us that “the people did evil in the sight of the Lord” and it was usually the time between each judge. As soon as a judge dies, the people fell back into their evil ways so God raises another judge. As noted, this was before Israel had any human kings at all (and this statement also implies Israel did not see God as their King), and the people constantly did what was right in their own eyes. In other words, anarchy was the result.

This is clearly seen in chapters 19-21. A wandering Levite (a priest), goes through the country and takes a concubine. First, a Levite was not supposed to be traveling around except possibly for a quick business trip. They were supposed to be settled in one place near the tabernacle. They had land for their flocks, etc., and relied on the people’s sacrifices to feed them because some portions of certain sacrifices were specifically earmarked for Levitical consumption. Second, a Levite was not supposed to engage himself with a concubine. This was against Mosaic Law.

It is patently clear that this Levite was a rogue. He clearly didn’t care about God or the Mosaic Law, but obviously enjoyed his position. More than that, he mistreated his concubine terribly. The text says she was “unfaithful” to him implying she chose to be involved with another man. However, she may actually have simply left the Levite because he was a horrible person so her “unfaithfulness” may have been that she couldn’t stand to be around him any longer and just left, breaking her vow to him. We don’t know for certain.

We do know she went back to her father’s house and after a few months, the Levite goes looking for her there. He is welcomed with open arms by the father-in-law and the Levite winds up staying several days longer than he really wanted to do, enjoying the hospitality of the father-in-law, which likely included a good deal of drinking and merriment. One almost gets the impression that the father-in-law wanted his own personal priest.

Eventually, the Levite takes his concubine and leaves. As he travels, he ends up in Gibeah in the town square. No one bothered to invite him inside. Everyone simply ignored him except one old man. In that part of the world during those days, it was a heinous act of indecency to not invite strangers in and care for their needs. But this is what happened. So, just like the situation of Lot’s day, after he is finally invited to share in the old man’s home, a bunch of “worthless fellows” surround the old man’s home and demands that his visitor come out so they can “know” him. This is clearly a word that implies they wanted to rape the man (as in Sodom). Here we have Benjamites – a tribe of Israel, from which Israel’s first king, Saul came – who turned a blind eye to this kind of sin according to the Mosaic Law and participated in it directly.

The old man – just like Lot – offered his virgin daughter and his visitor’s concubine to the men. Can you imagine what his virgin daughter must have been thinking and how terrified she must have been? This is politeness gone seriously awry on the part of the old man. The men of the town were not satisfied with the idea of raping women so they put up a stink to the point that the Levite wrestled his concubine out of the house and into the waiting arms of the sodomites.

This man was a LEVITE who should have known the Mosaic Law. If he did know it, he certainly didn’t care at all for either God’s Law or the abject fear of the woman he threw out of the house! The worthless men of the town took the concubine “…And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go” (v 25b). I cannot imagine her terror and pain nor the hardened callousness of the Levite! His concubine was brutally raped all night and finally released in the early morning where she crawled back to the door of the home where she was thrown out of. She ultimately dies on the doorstep.

The next morning, the Levite exits the house, sees her on the front stoop and barks, “Get up, let us be going…” but there was no answer. He realizes she’s dead and throws her over the donkey and takes her back to his home. Upon arriving, he then dismembers the women into 12 parts and sends one part to each of the 12 tribes of Israel likely with some sort of written message.

He acts aghast as though the beloved of his life had been unceremoniously taken from him! This results in war between the tribes and because of it, the tribe of Benjamin is almost completely obliterated. Oh, but it continues its downward trend because all the men of the other tribes promise to never take a wife from the tribe of Benjamin. This would ultimately mean that the tribe of Benjamin would go out of existence because no more children would be born from those women and most of the men had been killed in war with the other tribes.

But no worries. The men of the other tribes figure out how to take these women as wives on a “technicality.” Instead of no longer voluntarily becoming engaged to the women of the tribe of Benjamin, they decide that because of the yearly feast at Shiloh (chapter 21), the men would lie in wait and literally kidnap the young virgins going to the feast and “take” them as wives by force. So while they would not voluntarily “be given” wives from the tribe of Benjamin, they would absolutely steal the women. They believed they were not going back on their promise to never “be given” wives from that tribe.

How can a people called by God enjoy so many years of privilege and blessing, become so callous and hateful of God and His Law? The book of Judges shows us how that is possible.

It is also a lesson to us. If we go down the path of ignoring God and His Word, we will lose our fellowship with Him and be left to our own devices. Fortunately, after the book of Judges, an encouraging book of Ruth appears (and the book of Ruth happened during the same time as the book of Judges), along with Boaz, who represents a type of Christ as Ruth represents the Church (Ruth is a Gentile). Unfortunately, before we get to Ruth, we literally have to slog through the sewer in order to realize just how far Israel had fallen away from God Himself.

Judges shows just how full of grace God is, but it also shows how there are times His grace can be exhausted for certain individuals who insist on living in rebellion.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, israel, Judaism, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - Prophecy. Tags: , , , , , .

Pray for Our Daughter & Caleb Focusing on the Future, Pt 11

6 Comments

  • 1. Maranatha Today  |  March 18, 2021 at 2:34 PM

    Praise God for Caleb’s life. He will thrive and grow to be a great joy to you all in Jesus’ name!

    “Unlike Israel during Judges, God through His Spirit truthfully lives within us and will empower us to do what He expects if we lean on Him and His strength to do that. It is better to acknowledge the times we sin rather than attempt to make excuses for ourselves as too many are prone to do today.”

    This whole “Plandemic” has got me questioning so-called Christians who are taking this vaccine – do they truly have the Holy Spirit living within them? Why can’t they see the wickedness behind this and how do they take it thinking “it’s from God?” I don’t judge them, but I do question why they can’t see what we see!

    “How can a people called by God enjoy so many years of privilege and blessing, become so callous and hateful of God and His Law? The book of Judges shows us how that is possible.”

    Till today…

    “Judges shows just how full of grace God is, but it also shows how there are times His grace can be exhausted for certain individuals who insist on living in rebellion.”

    We’re nearing that time…Thanks for another great article…The Levite story is tragic…

    Like

    • 2. modres  |  March 18, 2021 at 2:38 PM

      Thanks Maranatha! I don’t get the vaccine thing either. Even Franklin Graham is saying pastors should preach against vaccine from pulpit. Makes no sense to me.

      But those folks likely look at us as ppl “testing” the Lord.

      Like

  • 3. Sandy Tuzinski  |  March 18, 2021 at 12:49 PM

    So happy to hear of Calebs healthy journey into the promised land! Continuing to pray for him…all is well…Jesus goes before him! The peace of Jesus be with the whole family. Hugs and prayers from Minnesota.

    Like

    • 4. modres  |  March 18, 2021 at 1:33 PM

      Thanks very much, Sandy. Greatly appreciated.

      Like

  • 5. Jen B  |  March 18, 2021 at 12:42 PM

    So happy to hear all are doing well. As for little Caleb, may he grow to be of a faithful spirit as Caleb was during the times of Joshua.

    Like

    • 6. modres  |  March 18, 2021 at 12:45 PM

      Thanks so much, Jen! We pray he comes to know the Lord early in life and be used by Him.

      Like


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