My brother called me today and asked why it’s been over three weeks since my last blog. I actually did write a blog last week but ended up deleting it. I’ve been having some pain (sometimes severe) in my left hand which makes typing undesirable. But my daily Bible readings have given me endless ideas on scriptures I need to write about. Hopefully my hand pain will subside soon so that I can write more often again.
Last night I dreamed about idols. Not the American singers, but the kind that people used to make and worship. It’s not really a surprise — my readings in Judges show over and over how the Israelites absorbed foreign gods into their daily lives. One step at a time, they forgot who God really is and turned to worship statues.
But this morning’s reading of Judges 19 twisted my stomach.
Judges 19 tells the tale of what happens when a people have no form of government. In a nutshell, a Levite goes to Bethlehem to get a second wife. After several months, they argue, and the 2nd wife goes home to her family. The man follows his 2nd Wife and “speaks to her heart,” convincing her to return to his household. After a few days with her family, they begin a return journey home. As night falls, they reach the village of Gibeah, where there is no inn. An old man offers to let them stay in his home overnight.
Gibeah had some of the baddest Bad Guys around. The kind that demanded sex from anyone at any time. They pounded on the door of the house and demanded that the old man hand over the young man so they could have sex with him. Trying to protect his guest, the old man instead offers up his own virgin daughter as well as the 2nd Wife traveling with her husband.
What does this husband do? The one who followed her and convinced her by speaking to her heart? He grabbed hold of her and literally forced or pushed her out the door into the hands of those thugs.
The thugs had their way and raped her and abused her all night long. She staggered to the doorway of the old man’s house and fell down dead.
To show his shock and outrage at what had been done, the man cut his 2nd wife’s body into twelve pieces (ugh!) and sent them to the 12 tribes in order to call together a council to discuss what had happened.
To be sure, there is nothing under the sun that happens that has not already happened in some time or place. We hear stories like that one today and are deeply disturbed. What bothers me the most about this passage is that the husband forced his wife out the door. He threw her to the wolves. I just can’t fathom that kind of heartless self preservation. My own husband would protect me or die trying — and I would do the same for him.
Then the husband presented his case to the other tribes — conveniently leaving out the fact that they originally wanted HIM for sex and that he forced her out into their hands. This led to a huge war and almost a decimation of the tribe of Benjamin.
This kind of senseless violence is what happens when a people have no leaders.
In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
Whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Doesn’t that clearly describe the way of our world today? Instead of there being a clear Right and Wrong, our political parties are paralyzed arguing over Left and Right. Our President does whatever he deems right, seemingly without regard to the Constitution (empathy matters more than rule of law) and without regard for the Bible as the only inspired word of God (his speech in Cairo referred to the Koran as “inspired.”) Society teachers our teenagers that truth is relative and that right and wrong are a matter of opinion.
I totally disagree. As for me and my house, we serve the Lord. We live under the Kingship of Jesus, and his commandment to us is to love one another. From 1 John 3:
We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sisters in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God. Even if we feel guilty, God is greater than our feelings, and he knows everything.
The Levite who thrust his wife out into the arms of the thugs did indeed show the truth of his love by his actions — his love for himself, that is. His actions did not demonstrate his love for his wife.
This is my prayer: that I will PROVE my love by my actions and not just by the words I write or speak. And the Lord is faithful to answer this prayer. If I am ever caught in a crisis where it is my life or the life of my friend or family member…please Lord, give me the strength to abandon myself without even a second thought. As Jesus did.