I'm so glad you are here! I hope during your visit you get a glimpse of God's heart for we become what we are gazing at. Currently I am writing my way through Judges sharing glimpses of God's heart and character for a weekday devotional. To check out the entire series so far head on over the the Judges Devotional. And if you blog, come on over on Friday's for a blog link up.
Well, it's here. The dreaded last half of chapter 19. Instead of take it a few verses at a time, lets just get it over with shall we. Have you ever read it? Oh my, just be prepared for shock. It may be the most horrific story in Scripture. Yet, God includes it. He doesn't hide this hoping no one remembers. Rather He puts it on display for all of history to see. I know today's post is long, there is just no good way to divide these verses up without having to talk about this awfulness for way longer than I want. So, take the extra few seconds to read. I really think God will use it.
"That evening an old man from the hill country of Ephraim, who was living in Gibeah (the men of the place were Benjamites), came in from his work in the fields. When he looked and saw the traveler in the city square, the old man asked, "Where are you going? Where did you come from?" He answered, "We are on our way from Bethlehem in Judah to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim where I live. I have been to Bethlehem in Judah and now I am going to the house of the LORD. No one has taken me into his house. We have both straw and fodder for our donkeys and bread and wine for ourselves your servants--me, your maidservant, and the young man with us. We don't need anything." "You are welcome at my house," the old man said. "Let me supply whatever you need. Only don't spend the night in the square." So he took him into his house and fed his donkeys. After they had washed their feet, they had something to eat and drink.
While they were enjoying themselves,some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him." The owner of the house went outside and said to them, "No, my friends, don't be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don't do this disgraceful thing. Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But to this man, don't do such a disgraceful thing." But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go.
At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, "Get up; let's go." But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home. When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. Everyone who saw it said, "Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!" Judges 19:16-30
I would love to know the first words out of your mouth after reading that. Even if you're alone, I bet it's unlikely you haven't gasped or something like that. It's just awful on top of awful. Is there no limit to the evil we are capable of?
This Levite, who is suppose to love God and be leading the people just sits there! Unless he's passed out from drinking too much. But seriously how big of a house could they have had back then. Not big! I'm sure he heard the transaction of the old man giving these jerks his lady, the one he just went out of his way to win over. Yet he did nothing! I'm sure he heard her screams outside and whimpers to come in after. Yet did nothing!
But then he must have been so sickened by his passivity that he "opens the casket". Do you know that term? It comes from Emmett Till, a little boy who was brutally murdered because he was black. At the viewing at his funeral his mother asked for a open casket so people could see how ugly racism was.
Mr Levite cuts up his wife (seriously, I just don't even want to think about this, but apparently God thinks it a big deal to), sends pieces of her to rock people out of their complacency.
What does it take to rock us out of complacency?
What will it take to get us to reject passivity?
At the beginning of this post I said this may be the most horrific story in the Bible. But really there is one more so. The same thing happened but to someone who never did anything wrong, ever, the King of Creation. He was handed over by cowardly men to be tortured for the pleasure of others. He was beaten, His flesh torn, and eventually killed. This is the most awful scene in the Bible. Yet the one that brings with it the most hope.
From much sorrow hope is born.
And this should rock us out of complacency, it should ignite the same reject passivity attitude but on a much grander scale. It sure ignite a passion to live for the One who gave His life for us.
Here's His story, the best story ever told, and how you fit into it.
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