Wednesday, October 9, 2019

2019.10.09 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 19

Read Judges 19
Questions from the Scripture text: With what comment does v1 introduce “those days”? Who takes a concubine in Judges 19:1? What does Judges 19:2 call her for leaving him to return to her father’s house? What does the Levite go to Bethlehem to do in Judges 19:3? What kind of response does he get from the gal’s dad? What does the father-in-law keep doing when the Levite wants to leave (Judges 19:4-9)? What eventually happens on the fifth day (Judges 19:10)? What is the problem in Judges 19:11a? What is the servant’s solution? What is the Levite’s complaint against Jebus (Judges 19:12)? Where do they end up (Judges 19:13-15)? Why do they end up in the open square? Who finally takes them in (Judges 19:16-21)? What is the one thing that the old man is concerned to keep the Levite and his concubine from doing (Judges 19:20)? Who surround the house to make a very wicked demand (Judges 19:22, cf. Genesis 19:5)? How does the old man respond (Judges 19:23-24, cf. Genesis 19:6-8)? But what does his guest end up doing (Judges 19:25a)? And what do the men of the city then do (verse 25b)? When did the woman return (Judges 19:26)? What has happened to her (Judges 19:26-28)? By what method does her husband send news of what was done (Judges 19:29-30)?
The parallels between Judges 19 and Genesis 19 are obvious. Welcome to Gibeah, or as the observant reader might call it, “New Sodom.” Long term, chapters like this are intended to make us ache for King Jesus. Judges 19:1 introduces the account to us by saying “there was no king in Israel.” But, an honest look at the rest of Israel’s history tells us that the kings whom they end up receiving don’t bring an answer to the wickedness problem.

Short term, the verse reminds us that the civil magistrate is ordained by God for the punishing of evil; and where the sword is not used for that purpose (cf. Romans 13:1-4, 1 Peter 2:13-14), wickedness increases unchecked. The current society in which we live is a sad testament to this truth.

With respect to both of these things—the need for King Jesus’s return to put an end to sin once for all, and the need for civil magistrates to employ the sword in punishing evil—it is particularly shocking to notice where we are in Judges 19. Judah. Benjamin. Bethlehem. Gibeah. These are supposed to be the safe places. Like the Levite said to his servant, it’s not like this is “a city of foreigners, who are not of the children of Israel” (Judges 19:12).

Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he falls. Even in the church, the slide away from the Lord can produce the most horrifyingly wicked results. Many churches have made this slide in some of our lifetimes. Even righteous Lot—or a godly and hospitable old man, or a conscientious Levite, or any of us—is susceptible to the great sin of exposing dear ones to the wickedness of the world out of some sincere but mixed-up logic.

We must be constantly vigilant—both employing God’s means and resting upon God’s mercy—against sliding into sin. Otherwise, we may find ourselves saying, “No such deed has been done or seen among the people of God—Consider it, take counsel, and speak up!”
What means has God appointed for keeping you from sliding into sin?
Suggested Songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before You Come” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”

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