We are sailing down The Nation Stream today. We are using the Tree of Life Version this week. We return to the story of Samson and wonder which way the nation of Israel is headed.
Judges 16 – is the demise and vengeful end of Samson. Remember his birth is glorious. God is upon him. God has assigned him. His strength, exploits and victories are scenes to marvel at. But his flesh gets the better of him. He was brought on to the scene to confront Philistines. Israel could not seem to settle this matter but Samson was not afraid to go at them head on. Yes, God is upon him so to rise to occasions, but Samson’s logic is cancelled out by lust over and again. He is with a prostitute 16:1, he marries another Philistine who works him like a ball of clay. She lies and he lets her. Any grammar school kid could see through this ruse, but Samson lets it happen. He is caught, blinded, and shackled to a grain mill. He gets back at the Philistines in his final act, killing 3,000 of them. Perhaps he personally could have eradicated the Philistine problem had he survived, and fought for a full life time. But, as we all know there is a gap and a sorry difference between what we can do when we obey fully and what we end up doing because we only obey in part.
Judges 17 there is quite an ordeal to build an idol of silver, hire an illicit priest, and call ones’self blessed while carrying on like a pagan. Much money is spent and Micah is pleased though he is transgressing in so many ways. Seven of the Ten Commandments are broken right in this chapter – and they do so right in their own home!! Micah is a thief, his mother is cursing, the returning of the silver is a ruse, she praises God while vowing to make an idol. she vows to dedicate all to God but keeps most of it, they assign a priest of their own (Num 3:10 forbid this under penalty of death). This priest (a “Jonathan”) is feigning to serve the LORD and there are a house of idols around him. You already read it … this is a pathetic home. But they are doing whatever is right in THEIR eyes. This is a theme of Judges and it is the big problem.
Judges 18: tells of the tribe of Dan wanting out of the area they have been assigned. This may seem an innocuous or harmless request, but it proves to not be. The tribes of Israel were called to be a testimony to the nations, but Dan finds itself at too much of a cultural intersection along a trade route between Asia and Africa, Europe and Arabia. They don’t like being so close -practically adjacent to the testy Philistines and they want to be elsewhere. It’s quite a messy tale of irresponsibility, false prophecy, theft, idolatry, lies, self-absorption, mass murder, desolation, and illicit conquest, and more idolatry. The place and the people have become God-awful and riotous.
19 is the most awful story in all of literature – not just the Bible. People talk about filming the Bible – well this chapter is so sadistic and Satanic that it is unfilmable. Why is it in the Bible? The Bible is trying to tell us how bad things will get when we turn our hearts from our God and Savior. It starts with a man living in a desolate area who thinks he can do and have whatever he wants, much like the rest of Judges (and the active pagans of all time too!).
He is a Levite (which means he knows better) but he gets himself a concubine (a live-in lover, not a wife for life) and … she leaves back for daddy’s. He goes to get her and the attempt to depart with her is ridiculous. No one in the family is forthright and honest. But they do leave and the trek home is trouble. Going north enroute to home, they are surrounded by rabblerousers who want to rape the Levite … MAN
After negotiations they throw his concubine and the host’s virgin daughter to these beasts who rape the concubine to death. Keep in mind people, the Israelites established that raping in Israel was Wrong! (Gen. 34:31) Girls were not to be treated like this in any way. They were to be protected and cherished not treated like a doe in deer season and butchered and worse. Her body is sent (in pieces) to rile all tribes to war against Benjamin.
20 – it works and through some clever battle tactics Benjamin is drawn out to battle. There are several stages to it and the scale of death is, shall we say, “biblical”. 40,000 Israelites die avenging this heinous crime. The tribe of Benjamin is nearly eradicated when over 95% of the men are killed, their town and most all in it are burned up too.
It is imperative that sin be traced to it’s source, confessed, repented of, and proper living be restored. But this Levite thinks, “it’s my life, I’ll do what I want, and I’ll sleep with whomever I want. And I’ll dispose of her when I want…” Really?! This decision, come full circle leaves over 65,000 dead as his sin becomes everybody’s business. And memo to the ladies: if you are a concubine, a call girl, a live-in, a part time lover, a street walker and you think this is going to lead to getting you love one day it won’t. If he loves you, he will pledge is life to you publically, before God and family and then he will take you in. If he won’t do this, it’s extremely likely that he never will love you.
“God we thank you for protecting us personally from madness like we’ve just witnessed. We pray today for our culture that is slouching to where this ungodliness is becoming accepted as normal and even something we should tolerate as false religions are touted as “part of the tapestry”. God, YOU are God and we must follow you alone. All others are false and the results of turning away from you are so very dark. Let us learn from this Book of Judges and be beacons who warn accordingly. Amen”
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