Read Judges 20:1-25
B. The Benjamite War. 1. The Reason for the War (19:1-20:13a); 2. The Execution of the War (20:13a-48). The Israelites, except for the Benjamites, gathered to understand what the cut up body meant. The Levite explained about the rape, murder, and his calling the Israelites to action.
The Israelites decided to go to battle against the Benjamites. The people of Benjamin decided to fight, instead of simply give up the wicked people who did the raping and killing. On the first day of battle, the Israelites lost 22,000 of their 400,000 soldiers.
- Assembling to understand. Notice in vss. 1-3 that the people gathered to understand what was going on. First, there are too many people who either fight the wrong fight or they are passive, when they should be active, all because they don’t understand what is going on. We should work on understanding the issues that impact us. And as leaders, we should work on helping those under our leadership to understand what is going on with those issues that impact them.
Second, when the assembly was called to order, in the text, all of the leaders, men, 400,000 soldiers gathered. In like manner, when assemblies are called today, leaders, men, and those willing to fight for God’s agenda being done should be the first to assemble.
Unfortunately, this is often not the case in our families, churches, and communities. Let’s work on assembling to understand what is going on with those issues that impact us and those we love. Think about how this application relates to family conferences, church meetings, and community meetings.
- Sustained action. Notice in vss. 8-11 that the people had a mind to do something immediately and in a sustained way. First, the people did not gather to simply talk. They had a mind to do something. Too often, we just talk and talk and talk. But we never do anything. Second, the people had a plan to support their actions. They develop a supply line, so the work could continue for an extended time. Too often, we are guilty of having microwave actions.
That is, we act as long as we are angry. But when our anger subsides then our actions subside. This is similar to a cup of coffee taken from a microwave. It is hot for a little while, but soon it is cold. Let’s work on carrying out and supporting sustained actions that bring glory to God. Think about how this application relates to supporting church outreach efforts and community organizations like the NAACP, Urban League, Boys and Girls Clubs, etc.
- Trying to deal with the small, so you don’t have to deal with the large. Notice in vss. 12-13 that there was a call for the wicked men to be presented, as a means of avoiding an all civil war. In like manner, there should be serious effort given to handling the necessary issues, so we can avoid unnecessary stress.
Think about how this relates to dealing one bad police officer, instead of the entire police force; one trouble maker in church, instead of all of his/her friends; one gang members, instead of the entire gang. I Corinthians 5:6-7 talks about purging out the leaven, so the whole loaf will not be contaminated. Let’s work on dealing with issues while they are small, so we don’t have to deal with so many large issues.
- Unreasonable people. Notice in vss. 13-16 that the Benjamites decided to fight with their 26,700 soldiers. In like manner, there are times when after we have given our best effort to solving a problem peacefully that people would rather fight than be reasonable.
Whenever we are trying to do something with the cooperation of others, there are factors beyond our control. Let’s work on doing our best and trusting God to help us with the rest. God can give us the victory against those who rise up against us, when we strive to do His will.
- Following God’s instructions. Notice in vs. 18 that the people of Israel asked God who should lead, and God answered, “Judah.” First, even though we would have liked to see them ask the Lord “should they fight” before they asked “who should lead the fight,” we should give them credit for talking to the Lord early and waiting for a response. Too many people don’t talk to the Lord about the issues of their lives, until they are in t
rouble. And then some ask the Lord questions but don’t wait for the answer. Second, when the Lord gave the answer, the people followed the instructions. The instructions included someone being first, which meant someone had to be second, and someone had to be last. We should work on accepting what God says, which means we may be anywhere in the sequence.
Be thankful to be in the sequence, instead of upset about not being first. Let’s work on asking for and following God’s instructions.
- Losing the first battle. Notice in vss. 19-23 that the people of Israel went out and fought but lost 22,000 soldiers. They asked the Lord about continuing the fight, and the Lord said, “yes.” First, doing what the Lord tells us to do is no guarantee that we will not suffer some lost battles.
In other words, even if we could ever be as faithful as Jesus, we should remember that Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and nights, ran into a storm with His disciples, and ended up being crucified because of religious people. Second, when things are painfully disappointing, we should stay in communication with the Lord. Too many stop praying, when things seem out of hand. Third, we should trust God enough to “try it again.”
It is easier and takes less faith to fight the first round than to fight the second round, after you have lost the first round. Let’s work on developing enough faith to try it again, even though we were obedient but lost the last battle. This calls for prayerfully studying and obeying the Bible with the support of others and with trust in God.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being obedient, instead of disobedient. God has much for those who obey His will.
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