So... This morning to my dismay, I was not able to download my podcast for todays edition of the 1-year daily audio bible readings to listen to on the way to work. I started doing it the past few days and love it. But this mornings edition just wouldn't download. So I played some "bible roulette"and decided I would pick out something from last month to listen to. I saw that the May 3 & 4 editions were from John chapter 3. Nice I thought, nothing like some positive John 3:16 loving on the way to work. What I didn't clue into was the OT passages we're from Judges chapter 17-20. First it starts out with this guy Micah living in the hill country of Ephraim stealing silver from his mother, but feels bad and returns it to her. She is so thrilled he did this she consecrates the silver to the Lord, and then has a local silversmith fashion it into a graven image and household idols. ?!?!?!. Micah is so blessed he makes one of his sons a priest. Then the story talks about some restless young Levite guy from Bethlehem who leaves home and wonders until he bumps into Micah. Micah then has this confusing thing to say to young un-named Levite,
Judges 17:10-11 Then Micah said to him, "Live with me and be my father and priest, and I'll give you ten shekels of silver a year, your clothes and your food." So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man was to him like one of his sons.
So what is it? Is he your dad or your son??
Then the story continues with the people of Dan looking for a homeland, they find Micah's house, long story short, come back, steal the young un-named Levite and the household idols, and slaughter the peaceful people of Laish and settle in. Then it gets interesting. Fast forward a bit, it mentions a Levite living in the hill country of Ephraim again in chapter 19. It might or might not be our young un-named Levite friend of before. He has a concubine who gets fed up with him and goes home to her parents in Bethlehem. He misses her, takes off after her, her dad doesn't want him to go home, keeps throwing parties for two days to keep him there. Finally he leaves with his concubine to return home late in the afternoon. His servant wants to camp that night with the Jebusites but the Levite says "Oh no, we need to head onto Gibeah, they are fellow Israelites and stay there." So they do, only to have the towns leaders surround the house he is staying at and demand the Levite be sent out side so they could rape him. (Sodom and Gamorrah reprise anyone??) He and his host instead say "No, please take the hosts virgin daughters or the Levites concubine"
They end up throwing the Levite's concubine outside where it says she is raped all night until she dies. The Levite responds by chopping her into 12 pieces and sending her to the 12 tribes of Israel. Israel responds by going to civil war with Gibeah, and the tribe of Benjamin, where they almost lose roughly 100,000 men and almost the battle before wiping out the ENTIRE tribe of Benjamin including livestock and family, expect for 400 who escape to the rock of Rimmon.
All because the Levite left in the afternoon instead of the morning. The misery of sin. The wages of sin is death. The people in that time who had no king truly did what they saw was fit in there own eyes, Judges 21:25.
This story is just nuts. Nuts. Nuts. Crazy and difficult. It is no where within my realm of thinking to understand it. Not exactly preached from the pulpit like John 3:16.
I wonder why in God's sovereignty did he have me listen to this difficult and hard to understand passage? What is he trying to teach me through it? I am again reminded of Proverbs 16:25:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
While we were still sinners Christ came and died for us.
While this mess was going on in Judges.
Sinners like these.
Sin like this.
He still came.
So often with our post-enlightenment morality and western hemisphere sensibilities we think we are immune from the savagery and barbaric ways of these biblical times. Yet, we still worship our household idols and do what is right in our own eyes. It will surely lead to death as well.