Judges 17-21, Without A King To Tell Us We Are Wrong
1. We Will Make Our Own False Religions (Judges 17)
2. We Will Reject God’s Plan And Make Our Own (Judges 18)
3. We Will See Gross Wickedness (Judges 19)
4. We Will Only Seek God In Emergencies (Judges 20)
5. We Will Create More Problems For Ourselves (Judges 21)
Judges 17-21, Without A King To Tell Us We Are Wrong
Judges 17-21, Without A King To Tell Us We Are Wrong
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Do you ever wonder why some passages are in the Bible at all?
As you have been going through the book of Judges with us?
If you are following along in the Bible in three years, perhaps this week you had to wonder that a lot. Judges chapter 1718, nineteen, 2021.
Some of the toughest chapters really to work through as you're reading through the Scriptures and we can wrestle with that and and try to understand, like what am I supposed to get out of this and why is this here?
And do I even have to read this?
This man every time I get to judges chapter 19 it just really makes my heart sick and I kind of like plead with the Lord like Lord do I really need to read this chapter?
Can we just kind of skip over this one?
Move on to chapter 20?
Or better yet, let's just jump all the way to Ruth and skip these chapters altogether.
Yet the Lord has included these chapters in his word for a reason.
And there's some important lessons that we need to learn many times.
Of course, we look at good examples and we try to follow those.
Really, what we find here in the latter part of judges is some really bad examples and and some things that we can look at to understand.
This is why it is so important for us to follow.
The Lord really the core and key aspect of these chapters is reflected in verse.
Six year of judges, Chapter 17.
It says in those days there was no king in Israel, everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
This is really the core of the issue.
This is really the heart of the matter.
This is really the reason for the difficulty of these chapters that we are working through.
If this verse could be said something different.
Then these chapters would be completely.
If there was a king, if there was a king of their hearts, not necessarily a king on a physical throne, but if they were submitted to God and following his ways, then these chapters would be radically different and filled with blessing instead of great difficulty and challenges for us.
As we look at these chapters this morning here in judges, I've titled the Message without a king to tell us we are wrong.
Without a king to tell us we are wrong, what we see happening as you read through these events and read through these accounts what we see happening is really the result.
This is what happens for us as humanity for us, as even you might say, children of God if there is no king.
To tell us that we are wrong in those days, it says there was no king in Israel.
Pastor David Guzik says this sets the stage for the terrible story of the following chapters.
This meant more than Israel not having a political monarch.
It meant that they refused to recognize God's leadership over them. The real issue here was that there was no king that God was intended to be their king, right? But we know that.
There is coming a king that there will be Saul, and then David, that that man after God's own heart, and we're looking forward to getting into that as we head into first Samuel. Over the next week or so.
But at this time there was no king.
They were to be submitted to God as king.
They were to be surrendered to him and to be following his laws in his ways.
But the fact that there was no king in Israel meant that they were not submitted to God at all.
They were not following the Lord in the way that they once did.
And so, how did they govern their lives?
How did they decide what was right and wrong?
How did they decide?
What were the boundaries and parameters for their life?
Well, it tells us in verse six everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
And as I was reading through these chapters this week, that really kind of struck me.
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
I found it interesting.
You know, it doesn't say everyone did.
What was wrong in his own eyes.
The way as you read through the chapters you could see like it would make sense if it was worded that way that everybody just you know, pursued their most wicked thoughts.
And they said we need to figure out how we can be the most wicked we could be.
And let's chase after that and find that and figure out how to be more sinful and enjoy more vileness.
Like if it described that if that was the condition of their hearts and that was the expression then, then it would make sense with these chapters, right?
But but it says everyone did what was right?
In his own eyes.
And so as you read through these things that we need to have the understanding of the perspective, they were not in their minds.
Thinking all right, we're going to rebel against God.
As a whole, collectively, that the nation of Israel still included God and you can see God mentioned throughout all these chapters.
But at the same time, you can see that the people are completely disconnected from God, even while they mention God call out to God or invoke the name of God in various ways.
They had justifications for what they did.
They had reasons in their minds that they would say this is the right thing to do.
This is the best thing for me.
This is the best thing for us.
Everyone did what was right in their own eyes and that was the problem.
It's a problem.
When we always do what is right in our own eyes? Proverbs chapter 28, verse 26.
Says he who trusts in his own heart is a fool.
But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
It's a verse to take to heart.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.
When you and I evaluate decisions when you and I evaluate our behavior.
If we are basing the determination of right and wrong on the basis of how we feel about it, what we think about it, if we're trusting in our own heart for guidance to navigate us through the decisions or the course that we're taking.
Here the proverb says we're foolish to do that.
We are a fool to have our own heart as the standard or basis by which we judge things in this life.
We need a higher standard.
We need a standard outside of ourselves.
We need a king.
To tell us.
When we are wrong, because of course we're going to think that we're right.
There are those occasions where we, we know it's wrong, but we pursue it anyways.
Definitely that exists.
But for the most part, we know or we think, anyways, that we're right.
And if we didn't think we were right, we would change our mind, right?
We would have a another justification for why we can do this and why we are.
We are living this way.
Our hearts are deceitful and we trick ourselves into thinking that we are doing what's right.
Even when we're committing the worst atrocities.
And so we need something greater than us.
We need a king.
To tell us.
That we're wrong.
We need a king.
We need the word of God to instruct us and inform us about what is right and what is wrong.
And if we do not submit to that if we do not allow God to have that role in our lives, well, we will begin to experience.
What the nation of Israel experienced here in judges?
And so here as we look at these chapters, we're going to look at some of the results.
What happens when we live without a king to tell us we are wrong?
The first thing we find the 1st results that we can experience in our own lives is found here in judges Chapter 17.
Here's point, number one.
We will make our own false religion.
If we don't have a king to tell us that we're wrong.
If King Jesus doesn't tell me I'm wrong, what I will do in my life is create my own religious system.
Now there's a lot of verses obviously, and we're going to cover a few chapters here in judges, so I'm not going to read through all of the verses, but just to give a summary of this chapter, we're introduced to a man named Micah.
And he steals from his mom a bunch of silver and his mom pronounces a curse on it.
And so he comes and confesses his mom.
I'm really sorry, you, you know, are missing that silver and I'm actually the one who took it.
And so the mom changes her mind and says, oh, May God bless you, you know now that it's been returned and she says, you know, actually I had dedicated this silver for you so that you could have a God.
Worship and so they take 200 shekels of that silver and they fashioned an idol out of it.
And he sets up a shrine within his home.
He sets up a a place of worship.
He establishes a place for his family, and in fact it calls his sons to be priests.
Here of this place of worship, until a little bit later on a Levite comes by, and he hires the Levite to be his priest.
Again, this is a picture of the condition of Israel, Micah, his family.
This really represents many aspects of the nation at that time and shows us that they are really far from God.
They're really far from the days of Moses and Joshua.
They're really far from the days where they knew the Lord and were dedicated to the Lord.
We're focused on the Lord and serving the Lord.
Now Micah has established his own religion.
He has created his own religious system and is there inventing the ways to worship God.
And so Mom says, OK, you know that's a case.
I know you stole my silver, but I was going to make a an idol anyways in verse 4.
Thus he returned the silver to his mother. Then his mother took 200 shekels of silver and gave them to the silversmith.
And he made it into a carved image in a molded image.
And they were in the House of Micah.
So he fashions an idol they create.
Their own worship system.
Now it seems like from the passage.
They did this, but not announcing.
Alright guys, everybody.
We're turning away from the God of Moses and Joshua we're we're we're abandoning that whole religious system.
We're abandoning all of that.
That that's not what what they were saying in this.
What they were saying is alright now we can worship God better and God is going to bless us more because now we have an image of God in our own home.
They were convinced this was the right move.
They were convinced this is the right thing to do.
And so they created their own religion.
God had clearly said you shall make no graven images, whether it's intended to reflect the one true and living God or some other false God.
God says no graven images.
That is not to be a part of your walk with me.
Your relationship with me.
But they threw out what God said and said, you know, it makes sense to us.
It's a good idea.
We need an image so that we can really worship God and be blessed of God.
This is what happens when we throw out the standard of God's word. If we disregard what God says, what we begin to do, then is pick and choose what we want. We begin to assemble our own personal religious system that is false.
You know you don't have to start a massive organization to make up your own religion.
There's that famous quote, right?
If you want to get Rich, start a religion and so there there is that concept and you know some people pursue that.
But at the same time, every one of us.
In a sense, create our own religion when we disregard what God says and begin to pick and choose the things that we like.
What God says, and then we're God says something different than we don't like.
Well, we have reasons for excluding that, and then we invent our own ways to connect with God or.
You know, I know it says this, but I just think and you know, there's the explanation for or I feel that I just can't imagine a God that and and there's all of this explanation that goes to why we don't hold to what it is that God has said and how he has revealed himself.
The revelation of God and the Word of God.
We start to do what's right in our own eyes and we don't allow God to tell us that we're wrong.
We create our own religious system.
And it's a false religion.
It's not a way to walk with God.
Comes up with their own ideas.
And holds those above what God has revealed.
As you look at the nation of Israel, it's something that happens within our households.
And we need to bring King Jesus in.
And allow Jesus to say you know what that's wrong.
When's the last time?
God's told you that you're wrong.
Well, when's the last time you've allowed that?
When's the last time you've changed?
You know that that.
You've allowed him to change your mind that you felt differently about it.
You thought differently about it.
You wanted something different, but God said no, that's wrong, and so you allowed God so so many times we.
Create our own false religion that just fits perfectly with exactly what I think.
That just fits perfectly with my own ideas and, and we assume you know God is just going to bless that and work in that.
It tells us in verse 5 the men might get had a shrine maiden, Ephod, and household idols.
He consecrated one of his sons, who became his priests, and he thought, and this is just.
We're going to be so close to God now we're going to have such great relationship with God.
It's gonna be so wonderful.
As the chapter goes on, a Levite comes by Levites were those who were dedicated to serve at the Tabernacle.
That whole tribe was devoted to the Lord, but this particular Levite he's doing what's right in his own eyes.
Micah says, hey Levite, why don't you come and be my priest?
You get a kind of a upgrade in your service status.
You don't just be a Levite, a servant at the Tabernacle.
You get to be a priest if you come and serve at my house, and I'll pay you this much and I'll provide for you in this way, and the Levite says, Oh yeah, that sounds great.
I'll take the promotion, be a priest.
And he becomes a priest for this false religion, that is there in Mike's household.
But notice what it says in verse 13, then Micah said.
Now I know that the Lord will be good to me since I have a Levite as priest.
You see, he wasn't thinking all right.
This is the most vile thing I can do.
I'm going to pursue it, he's thinking.
This is going to be great.
God is going to be so happy and pleased and I'm really going to be blessing.
God is going to be good to me because now I.
Have a Levite as priest.
Totally deceived. Totally delusion.
No, throwing out everything that God has said about the levite's about the priests about idolatry, about so many things but convinced. Oh man, I'm going to be so blessed.
He's made his own false religion.
Without a king to tell us that we're wrong, this is what we will do.
We will create our own false religion.
And perhaps that false religion allows us to steal from our mom, allows us to curse and to bless allows us to make anyone priests.
But still be convinced that we're going to receive God's blessing. I need King Jesus to tell me I'm wrong.
If I pursue what I know is wrong, the results will be disastrous.
But also if I pursue.
What I think is right.
The results will be disastrous.
I need to pursue what the Lord says in his direction.
And so here we get a glimpse of a household.
Without a king to tell us that we're wrong, moving on to judges chapter 18, we get the 2nd result to consider this morning.
Here in the example of Israel without a king to tell us we're wrong, we will reject God's plan and make our own.
If we don't have a king, if we don't have the governing of God in our lives to direct us to correct us, to admonish us.
Then we will reject God's plan and we'll replace it. We'll substitute it with our own plan, and we could of course look at many examples of this in the scriptures. But here in Chapter 18 we have the example of the tribe of Dan.
And the tribe of Dan is one of the tribes of Israel.
They, like the rest of Israel, were given a portion of land within the promised land that was their inheritance, and they were instructed then to go and take the territory.
There are enemies still within their midst.
They had to go conquer those enemies.
There was work to do in.
Plowing and preparing fields and establishing their homes and so they were to go and inhabit the land.
Just like the rest of the tribes of the Nation of Israel.
But they decided that they didn't really care for the land that they had been given.
Now their land, their territory was right in the middle of the land of Israel, right above Judah, next to Benjamin, right below Ephriam.
And their territory here.
They decided, you know this.
This just isn't that great territory.
We don't really care for it.
There's a lot of difficult challenges here.
We don't want to face those challenges.
We don't like the area.
The neighborhood, you know, it's just not really for us.
And so they decide.
Well, let's find an easier place to live.
And so they send out a search party to go find an easy place to live.
The search party is they're going through.
They happen to pass through by Mike's house from Chapter 17, and so these chapters are connected together. In that way they.
Meet up with the Levite there who is now the priests at Micah's house, and they say, hey, you know, would you pray for us?
And the priest says, oh, may the Lord bless you.
He's going to bless your journey.
You're going to have a great time, yeah, you're going to go find a place to live, totally speaking falsehoods.
But in the name of the Lord.
Well, they go up north.
They find a place.
They come back to the tribe of Dan and they say we found this great place.
You guys let's all move up there, and as they're heading up there, they pass by Mike his house again, and the spies who went out before they said, you know, there's this Levite here with household God.
And it's kind of a neat setup, and they've created a nice religion there.
Why don't we adopt that?
And so the tribe of Dan basically invades this man.
's house takes his gods runs off with them as you read through the account.
It's a little bit humorous because my cat chases after them and says hey, you've stolen my gods and that's a problem, right?
If your if your gods can be stolen then your gods are not really gods at all.
But so the Levite becomes a priest, now for the whole tribe of Dan they persuade him, saying, hey, wouldn't it be better for you if we were a priest for a whole tribe, and not just one household?
And so he agrees.
He goes with them and they move up north to settle.
It's a city called Laish, but they renamed it to be Dan.
It's up in the far north.
Of Israel now again.
Joshua Chapter 19, outlines the boundaries of Dan.
This is the boundaries that God had given to them.
They said you know what?
We don't want this.
We want a city that's within the region that was given to the tribe of Naphtali.
That's going to be the perfect spot for us and there's going to be no problems there.
That's what they do.
They reject God borders God boundaries.
God plans the land that got it given to them.
And they say no, we're going to.
We're going to make our own way.
We're going to do what we want to do now.
It's kind of interesting to look at.
I mean, Dan is not a huge piece of land.
It's not a.
Huge territory, but it's a nice.
Part of the promised land that God had given.
But they substitute that for one city.
They go up north and they get laish or later on they name it dear and, and so they have one place now one small location rather than this abundant territory that God had provided for them.
And so here you see the the tribe of Dan.
Saying, we know what God says.
We know God boundaries.
We know what his plan is for us.
We don't like God plan we're going to do it our way but oh man, we're going to be blessed 'cause we brought in this Levite.
And he's, you know, now our priests, and we have a ephod.
And this this idol and and so God is going to be with us, and they are again.
Thinking that they will be blessed rejecting God's plan and making their own.
In verse 8.
It says the spies came back to their brethren at Zorah and Estel and their brethren said to them, what is your report?
So they said, arise, let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and indeed it is very good.
Would you do nothing?
Do not hesitate to go and enter the to possess the land.
When you go, you will come to a secure people and a large land.
For God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.
This is a people who have not said we reject God.
We refuse to submit to him.
Although that is the state of their hearts.
They are convinced.
They are still with God.
They're still walking with God.
God is still with them.
God has given it into your hands.
They say to the rest of the tribe, God has blessed us this he's given us victory.
He's given us this new territory.
All the while they're rejecting God's plan and inventing their own.
This is what happens when we are without a king.
To tell us that we're wrong.
We come up with our own plans.
We we think that we're fine.
We think that we're right on with God.
We think that we you know are going to be blessed by him.
We're looking for to him to to give us victory.
At the same time, we're rejecting what he has said.
We're rejecting the the course and the path that he has set before us.
Again, I would ask you to consider how often does God tell you that you are wrong?
How often does that happen where you come up against something where God says something different and you allow him to redirect your path and re correct your thinking then.
We need to make sure that we submit our hearts to God in this way.
Or we might find ourselves rejecting God's plan, making our own but completely deceived and delusional thinking.
That he's still with us.
And asking him to bless us, I need King Jesus to tell me that I'm wrong.
Well, we see this continue in Chapter 19 now chapter 1920 and 21 are kind of a a separate account that go together, and so we'll walk through this.
But here the 3rd result that we see starting in Chapter 19 is we will see gross wickedness without a king to tell us that we're wrong.
We will see gross wickedness here chapter 19.
We walk through the account of a Levite.
Different Levite, this time.
But there's this Levite he has.
Married a concubine.
As we read through the account, we find that she cheated on him.
She was either involved in prostitution or had a single affair.
It's not clear, but she was involved in some kind of immorality and so she goes and stays with her dad.
And as she goes, and stays with her dad for a few months, the husband begins to miss her and says, you know, I'm gonna go get her back and so the Levite heads to the dads house to bring her home.
And he stays with them a few days.
The dad really wants him to stay longer and there's this, you know, a couple days of him wanting to go.
But being convinced to stay.
And that happens, and.
The Levite says no.
I'm leaving the dad says, hey, it's already kind of getting late in the day.
You should stay at least the night, leave early in the morning.
He says no no, and you've already kept me a few too many days.
I I need to leave right now and so it's already midway or late in the day, but they leave anyways, even though that's not the ideal time to travel well, they find a place of shelter.
In a city called Libya, and it's not a good place.
Has a bunch of guys who come and attack basically the house where he is staying out as a guest and the the men of the city are asking for the Levite to be sent out so they can abuse him and the Levite ends up sending out his concubine instead and so they abuse her.
And he goes home with his concubine after that, as he gets up in the morning and heads out.
Cuts her into 12 pieces and sends all of those pieces to all the tribes of Israel.
Again, it's one of those chapters.
Why do I have to read this is like why is this here?
But I would suggest to you this morning.
Not that we have to, you know, spend a lot of time or weeks and weeks in Chapter 19.
But periodically it's important for us to revisit passages like this.
To help us remember This is why God calls sin sin.
Now, because sin is really great and he just likes to see you miss out on really good things right now, God calls sin sin he calls it wickedness.
He calls us away from it because.
It's horrible, it's horrific.
And of course, in our perspective we don't see it that way.
We don't see sin for how terrible it is.
That's the nature of CID.
And as as we continue down a path of sin, we are more and more deceived, so that we still think that we are right.
So I can still do what's right in my own eyes, while committing terrible wickedness.
It's not really that rare, even though like we might wrestle with the that concept in our minds, in our hearts.
I mean, you think about any famous religious leader who had.
Is fallen into sin right?
Like that's what happens the deceitfulness of sin.
And there's explanations.
But it's not just for you know, those kind of rare occurrences.
It's what happens in each of us.
We we justify ourselves.
And we can.
Find ourselves at times kind of a weekend.
So all of a sudden look back and realize I've been involved in such terrible things.
How did they get so bad?
It's it's the deceitfulness of sin.
That blinds our eyes so that we do what we're thinking is right.
But we're not submitted to God.
And if we don't allow God to correct us and direct us, we will see gross.
Wickedness just to read a couple verses from this chapter. Verse 22 says, as they were enjoying themselves suddenly certain men of the city perverted men surrounded the house and beat on the door.
They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, bring up the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally.
But the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, no.
No, my brother and I beg you do not act so wickedly.
Seeing this man has come into my house, do not commit this outrage.
Look here is my virgin daughter and the man's concubine.
Let me bring them out now.
Humble them and do with them as you please.
But to this man, do not do such a vile thing.
But the men would not heed him.
So the man took his concubine and brought her out to them.
And they knew her and abused her all night until morning.
And when the day began to break, they let her go.
Hard to read.
Why is it in the Bible?
It's in the Bible?
Not because God allows for this, not because God condones this.
Every every person in this account is completely apart from God disregarding what God has said, not allowing the Lord to direct, and they're not submitted to God.
We will see gross wickedness.
If we are without a king to tell us that we're wrong.
I need King Jesus to tell me I'm wrong.
That I don't find myself.
In wickedness now you know some of these things.
We look at this.
It's like, well, I would never write.
And yet, at the same time we need to recognize that there is nothing I'm incapable of really when it comes to sin, the deceitfulness of sin.
We could find ourselves in similar circumstances and situations.
It is the reality and that's why God says.
Don't do it.
Stay away from sand, turn from sin, repent, confess your sin and and walk in the ways of God instead.
While continuing on in Chapter 20 the 4th result.
Of living without a king to tell us that we're wrong.
That we will only seek God in emergencies.
When we're not submitted to God when we're not allowing him to guide and direct our lives again, it's not a.
Typically anyways, not a complete abandoning of God, not a rejection.
I hate you, God.
I'm never going to talk to you again.
Kind of thing.
Usually it's a.
Deceived and delusional path where we still think God's with us. We still think we're OK with God and looking for God to bless us, but we really only cry out to him whenever there is a crisis and emergency.
Chapter 19 ends with the Levite sending the pieces of this concubine to the tribes, and so now chapter 20 begins with the tribes being revolted by what has just been sent to them and gathering together and and coming to an agreement that they will go to war against Gebeya the city where this occurred.
But as they begin to approach.
And make their plans to attack Gebeya the tribe of Benjamin comes to Gibby's defense. Gebbia was at city within the tribe of Benjamin.
So again, looking at a little bit of the geography here, you have Dan and then right next to them was Benjamin right there on the Jordan River.
And so this was the tribe that the city of Gibeon.
Was within this territory.
And Benjamin says, you know what?
Rest of Israel you can't come in here and deal with Gibby A.
We're going to stand by our brothers.
This is our family.
We're going to stand by them and and you can't come in here and deal with them.
And so instead of surrendering the city of Qibya to Israel, Benjamin says, no, we're going to fight you.
You cannot come in here.
And so now there's a battle between the nation of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin.
And it's a battle that doesn't go very well.
Israel is defeated.
The first two times they go to battle.
Each time they call out to the Lord and say, Lord, what's going on?
Should we go to battle and God says, go to battle.
And they go to battle, but then they're defeated.
They go to battle, and then they're defeated.
The third time.
As they're calling out to the Lord, the Lord says, go to battle.
This time I'm going to give you victory.
Battle against the tribe of Benjamin.
They have victory.
They take that victory to such an extent that they wipe out the majority of the tribe of Benjamin.
So that only 600 of the benjamites Benjamin Knights survived.
There's 600 men left of the tribe of Benjamin.
You might think of it this way.
They kind of overreact.
In this situation.
Dealing with the city of Qibya was appropriate.
I mean, you can see as you read through the account you know the city of Gibeon had some really strong parallels to Sodom and Gomorrah and the the account that happened there back in Genesis Chapter 19 the Lord had instructed Israel in Deuteronomy chapter 13.
If you you know hear about a city that's given over to to wickedness that you are to wipe out that city.
Deal with that city and address the sin that is going on there and so.
Attacking the city of Qibya was appropriate.
But they knocked out the whole tribe of Benjamin.
Now Benjamin, as you look at them, they were loyal to their brethren over being loyal to God.
They were loyal to protect their family.
More than they were loyal.
To protect what God had said in the ways of God.
And so it tells us in verse 14 instead, the children of Benjamin gathered together from their cities to qibya to go to battle against the children of Israel.
Instead of allowing the correction to take place to this city to deal with the sin, they said no.
You cannot take them.
We're going to stand and fight against you.
And so again the battle ensues.
And the children of Israel are crying out to the Lord, crying out to the Lord.
What's interesting about this right is.
This is when they're crying out to the Lord.
Not in the times before this.
It's right now in the time of crisis.
Now they're horrified by the event.
That is happened by the crime that has been committed, and so they're crying out to the Lord.
They're they're terrified of being defeated.
Now they're they're, you know, the thought of going to battle and being defeated by the Benjamin Nights like that.
They hate that idea and so they're crying out to the Lord.
They they're crying out to the Lord, but but clearly the rest of their life.
They're not crying out to the Lord the rest of their life.
They're not seeking his guidance or not seeking him for counsel.
They're not submitting to his will in his ways.
But here in the crisis.
They call out to the Lord.
And it seems like the Lord allows them to be defeated a couple of times because he's wanting to get their attention.
He's wanting them to recognize the problem is not just with Benjamin or with the Gibeon nights.
That the problem is with the nation of Israel.
And I would suggest that the defeats were God's warnings to them that it was more than just this one instance that was out of line for them as a nation.
God sent them into battle and they were defeated.
They were defeated because Israel needed defeat more than they needed victory.
At that time they were far from God.
I mean, you can think about it right.
All the tribes of Israel, here, the Danites.
And their idolatry.
They're part of this.
Group of soldiers.
They represent a lot of what was happening within the nation at the time.
Everyone doing what was right in their own eyes.
And so they only seek God in the crisis, in the emergency.
And that's where we will find ourselves if we're without a king to tell us that we're wrong.
It's a dangerous place to be.
We where we only cry out to the Lord like we're the best prayer warriors on the planet.
Whenever there is a crisis.
But in between those crises.
There is not that submission to God that connection to God that crying out for the Lord in the same way.
Well, finally Chapter 21 brings us to the end of judges and gives us the last result to consider without a king to tell us we're wrong. We will create more problems for ourselves.
Judges chapter 21 is a little bit humorous. If it wasn't so tragic, right? It's one of those things where they're they're working really hard to resolve a problem that they have created for themselves. It's kind of like.
When you have to lie to cover up a previous slide to cover up a previous slide, and now there's this web of lies and you know if you're not involved in this situation like it's a little bit humorous to kind of recount, or or the irony of that is is a little bit humorous in a similar way.
Here we find.
The Nation of Israel mourning the loss of Benjamin.
600 survivors there's no women available to marry these 600 men from Benjamin, and so they're expecting they're concluding.
This tribe of Israel, the tribe of Benjamin, is going to start to not exist.
They're going to be wiped out from the face of the earth because there's no one to marry these survivors from the tribe.
And so now Israel tries to come up with a solution for this problem.
Again, I would suggest it's a problem they created.
They overreacted again, gebeya sure full destruction was appropriate.
It's what God called for, but the whole tribe of Benjamin that was that was not exactly what God had prescribed, and so they now have this issue, and they're trying to solve for it.
Now this overreaction, I think is something to consider.
When we overreact to a situation of sin.
Overreact to a crime.
Allow that to be a red flag for you to check your heart.
Remember when David was feeling guilty over his own sin?
And Nathan comes and tells him the story of a sheep that was stolen from a guy.
And David, just like.
Demands execution for the sheep thief.
Way overreacts too.
The situation that had been described to him.
And of course, that's when the Lord, through Nathan, says you're the man like this is a parable of what you have done.
What you did was much worse than this, but here you are with this simple account and you're over reacting to it.
Might be an indication of a guilty conscience of a heart that knows I'm not In Sync with God.
When we are overreacting?
To hurts in crimes.
But we find here in judges Chapter 21 there is some problematic oaths that the nation of Israel took and verse one it says.
Now the men of Israel had sworn an oath that mitzvah saying none of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife.
So this was before battle, right?
As they gathered together, all right, we're going to go.
We're going to deal with this situation and they took an oath.
The Lord didn't tell them to take an oath. The Lord didn't require this. This wasn't anything connected to the Lord's direction. This was just overzealousness.
Foolish promises, but they took an oath. None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife. And so now after the battle, when there's only 600 men left, now they're looking around and saying, how do we find wives for these 600? Because if we don't, this tribe is going to vanish. They're going to go away.
And so now they have a problem that was something they created themselves because they foolishly vowed this way.
It's interesting 'cause as it goes on to verse two and three, they're essentially saying why, God why.
Why did you allow this?
But of course, the reality is they brought.
This upon themselves.
And so they came up with the solution.
Alright, here's what we're going to do.
Find out who didn't go to battle with us and there was one city Jabesh Gilead.
That didn't go to battle with them, and they said, OK, let's kill everybody in Jabesh Gilead.
'cause they didn't go to battle with us.
I would suggest God would say I never told you to do that.
But now they have this.
Attack on their conscience as well.
It tells us in verse five they made a great oath concerning anyone who had not come up to the Lord at Mizpah, saying, he shall surely be put to death.
All right, so any city, all right? We're going to just wipe them all out so they go, they kill everybody at Jabesh Gilead, except for they found 400.
Women who were virgins.
Perfect, that's 400 brides for the tribe of Benjamin.
Now again, this is recorded not because God says this is a really great way to get people married, right? Like this is not God's plan. This is not God's direction, this is.
People creating their own problems by disregarding and not seeking the will and the counsel of God.
Wives are found, but now there's still 200 guys who don't have wives, and so they're like.
What can we do?
What can we do?
You know there's a festival.
Where are a bunch of.
Unmarried ladies dance and have a part of the celebration.
This parade that goes on and so.
Let's just give the tribe of Benjamin permission.
To go and take the women that they want.
That's a great idea, right?
No, but that's what they do.
They they convince themselves they're doing what's right in their own eyes.
Hey, this gets us out of our vowel like we all meet the vowels, and we do.
And so they instruct the tribe of Benjamin.
Therefore they instructed the children Benjamin saying, go lie and wait in the vineyards and watch just when the daughters of Shiloh come out to perform their dances, then come out from the vineyards and every man catch a wife for himself from the daughters of Shiloh.
Then go to the land of Benjamin.
Then it shall be.
When their fathers or their brothers come to us to complain that we will say to them.
Be kind to them for our sakes, because we did.
A wife for any of them in the war, for it is not as though you have given the women to them at this time, making yourself guilty of your oath.
Look, you didn't have to break your vow, but we solved this issue like congratulate us for such an ingenious plan and now unhappy father or brother.
And you know now your in law is.
One of these guys, the benjaminite's right like?
You're welcome, we saved you and it's a great idea.
Without a king to tell us we're wrong, this is the kind of plans that we come up with.
We are over rash and our promises.
We are overreacting from our guilty conscience and we create problem after problem and we create more problems trying to solve the other problems.
I need King Jesus to tell me I'm wrong.
I need to allow the Lord to govern my life.
Now this really gives us that grim picture of where Israel was at this time in their spiritual condition.
But as we look at these things as bad as it was.
There was still hope for Israel.
We're just a couple chapters away from the revival that takes place under Samuel the Prophet and the nation.
Is calling upon the Lord and hearing from the Lord and God is working in their lives.
We're just a few chapters away from revival under King David, who sought after the heart of God.
And so, although this portion is exceedingly dark.
Provides for us a necessary warning.
It also gives us that opportunity to hope.
That no matter how bad it gets, if we find ourselves in the exact same condition of Israel without a king to tell us we're wrong, we're doing whatever we think is right.
We're convinced that we're right.
We're deluded, we're deceived.
But now the Lord's Awakening and saying.
You need to set things right.
There's still that opportunity.
And this morning we want to close our service together with a time of communion.
And really, it's a great opportunity for us to to do just that for us to invite the Lord to show us, Lord, am I wrong?
And if I am wrong, if I am out of line, if there is these, you know, dark chapters in my story right now.
There is the opportunity for forgiveness because of what Christ has done for us.
Communion gives us the symbolism of the cross, the body of Jesus being broken by the bread that was is provided and the the cup represents his blood that was shed for the forgiveness of sins that as we come to the cross and we realized by his grace we are able to be washed and cleanse from the worst of the worst of the worst.
Of atrocities that may be happening in our minds and our hearts or in our lives.
And so we have the opportunity to have this revival personally ourselves as we come to the cross as we come to the Lord and allow him.
To start us fresh on a path with him and redirect us.
And so I want to encourage you during this time to be seeking the Lord.
Let God tell you if you're wrong, invite the Lord to show you if there's areas where you are following the pattern that is found here in the book of judges and.
Then allow the Lord to help you turn from that.
Confess your sin, repent.
Receive the grace, the cleansing the washing here from the Lord.
So that you can go forward in a right relationship with him and so the worship teams that come up and lead us in a closing song as they do.
There's communion elements on the table back near the door, and so anytime during the worship song between you and the Lord on your own, go ahead and go and grab those elements and you can party together.
You as a family or you personally.
Individually, however, the Lord is leading you.
But we want to take some time to just allow the Lord to reset, redirect and correct us, refresh us, renew us and forgive us as we seek him.
Lord, we thank you for your word, difficult reminders, challenging reminders, challenging things to consider, and yet Lord things that we need to consider because.
Are easily in similar situations, but our hearts are prone to wander and yet we are convinced that we're right, and in our minds and our perspective, we think that we're doing right.
We're convinced that we have the right way and the right reasons.
But Lord, I pray that you would help us to be.
And able to receive from you the truth when we are wrong.
Or correct US redirect us I pray and help us to be responsive to that to receive your instruction.
Your Grace for forgiveness.
To receive your hand of fellowship, Lord, that we would know you hear your voice and receive your guidance and guidelines.
For what you want to do in our lives, we pray this in Jesus name.