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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

2019.10.16 Hopewell @Home ▫ Judges 20

Read Judges 20
Questions from the Scripture text: How many Israelites assemble in Judges 20:1-2? Who heard about this in Judges 20:3? What do the Israelites ask? How does the Levite answer in Judges 20:4-6? How does he challenge them in Judges 20:7? What do they decide to do in Judges 20:8-10? Against whom do they come in Judges 20:11? What do they do with the other cities of Benjamin (Judges 20:12-13)? How does the rest of Benjamin answer (Judges 20:13-14)? How many do they gather (Judges 20:15-16)? From how many is Israel’s 10% selected (Judges 20:17)? Whom do they ask about which should be selected (Judges 20:18)? How does He answer? But what happens to these forty thousand in Judges 20:19-21? And how does Israel respond after this (Judges 20:22)? What do they ask, and what does Yahweh say (Judges 20:23)? What happens this time (Judges 20:24-25)? And now how do they respond (Judges 20:26-28)? What is different about this third response from Yahweh in Judges 20:28? What strategy does Israel employ this time (Judges 20:29-34Judges 20:36-46)? But what was the deciding factor—Who defeated Benjamin (Judges 20:35)? How many escaped (Judges 20:47)? What was done to the rest of the cities of Benjamin (Judges 20:48)? To how many of the inhabitants of each city?
It might appear at first that Gibeah is wicked, and the rest of Israel is righteous. I’m afraid that we all have a tendency to see others’ sins and not our own—especially when that sin is of the heinous kind that we have seen in Gibeah in chapter 19.

But we are concerned, as we hear the Levite give his account, to wonder why he would be so indignant when it is he who offered his concubine/bride to be abused in his own place. We see that there is great sin in him as well.

Indeed, as the people of Israel consult the Lord, and the Lord says to send Judah (Judges 20:18), and then the Lord says to go up again (Judges 20:23), it is by His Word that Israel goes to its own defeat and destruction. Finally, the third time, the Lord actually promises that they will prevail (Judges 20:28), but there is an indication here that they are all guilty before God and deserving of destruction. It is not until they come with fasting and sacrifice—acknowledging that they too deserve God’s wrath—that they receive this third response.

Indeed, as they call Benjamin “our brother,” they acknowledged that they are of the same stock (even as the people of Jesus’s day condemned themselves when they accused their ancestors of killing the prophets, cf. Matthew 23:29-33).

And so the judgment of God falls so heavily upon Benjamin that it truly is a judgment upon all of Israel, as one tribe comes precariously close to being wiped out—something that will have to be remedied in the next chapter.

So, as we rightly condemn sin in others, let us not forget to righteously condemn our own sin, and come to God clinging only to the sacrifice of Christ—and not with any illusions of our own goodness!
What are some sins that you are rightly indignant about in others? What do your own sins deserve? What hope can there be for someone who deserves this?
Suggested Songs: ARP119W “Lord, Let My Cry before You Come” or TPH433 “Amazing Grace”

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