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Man of God, why forget the Lord?
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
There are liberal theologians in our current society who ridicule the Bible. They sow doubt about the inerrancy and truth of the Word of God explaining in detail how small, petty and insignificant God is. How they enjoy to point to the story of Judges 19 and 20 to show how unacceptable and terrible Christians are.
The narrative is about a Levite (the tribe of Levi served God full time) who acted in a cowardly way towards his concubine. He displayed all the characteristics God could not have endorsed: he had no conscience, no moral sense, no protection of his weaker partner, and no love for her. Two verses mark the situation concerning the country’s moral status: ‘In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit’ (Judges 17:6, 21:25). Everyone did as he thought right, without concern for God’s law. The narrative explains to us what happens when a society disregards and rejects God’s Word: anarchy takes place, because everyone feels that he has his rights.
No mention is made that the Levite had a wife. If he had a wife who was barren, the taking of a concubine would make sense. He probably had her for sexual gratification only. The priests had instructions concerning marriage (Leviticus 21:1-15), and we cannot think that the Levites would be excluded from acting honorably towards women. He might have been called a Levite, but he surely was not a servant of God in spirit. It is the same as many people today who call themselves Christians but by their actions they deny the teaching of the Bible. The Levites were part of God’s ministerial team. Their counterpart would be the ministers and theologians of today.
What was the result of this man’s treatment of his concubine? Might the catastrophe not have been avoided if he acted honorably, defending her to the last against the profligates? He didn’t defend her. This is similar to many theologians and ministers today who do not defend God’s honor any more. The result was civil war, with a terrible cost in human lives. Both the Israelites and Benjaminites counted their dead in the thousands. This was the result of a Levite not living up to his duty.
Application: What happens in a society when the leadership of the nation (those responsible for the teaching of God’s laws and His love) turns away from God’s moral commands? Darkness descends on that nation, and civil war (not a literal war, but a spiritual war where the population is torn into two opposite camps, devouring and discrediting the other, while the country is burning) erupts. We see it happening in the world today. Christians fight with each other, instead of resisting our common enemy the devil. The moral of the story is that it was not God who caused the carnage. Neglecting God’s Word always leads to catastrophe.