Friday 29th January 2021
In the Book of Judges, we saw when the Levites were not standing in the right position, what they brought was confusion and war. When an unlawful thing enters a group, it would be like the yeast enter into the bread.
Section One: V1-7 The Wrong Start
The Israelites came together from the north to south, even those who lived on the mountains. But none of them knew what exactly happened. They only saw the parts of the body and came together as one. Before they found out the truth, they already had presumptions instead of having a neutral attitude towards this incident. When the Israelites came together, they even brought their army, in their heart they had made judgment to fight. The Israelites started wrong, they came before God bringing their own conclusion and their own judgement. It was the Levite, who did wrong in the first place, but the Israelites already decided in their heart to fight with the tribe of Benjamin. Wilful people would not listen to God because they already made presumptions in their heart. Even when we come to God, we have already had an answer in our heart, we just want an approval from God.
When people walk in their flesh, all they hear would be words of one side. The Levite said it was the Gibeah, which belonged to Benjamin, who tried to kill him. But he didn’t mention that it was not the whole city of Gibeah but only those who were thieves and robbers. Therefore of course Gibeah would feel wrongly accused. We would not admit that thieves were one of us, people of Gibeah and Benjamin would feel unjust.
Our words have power, when we talk about something, are we able to just speak the truth without adding our emotions and presumptions? The way we explain things will greatly influence how others receive the message. The Levite did not mention it was his mistake in the beginning to take the concubine, he did not mention it was himself, who pushed out his concubine to the thieves to save his own life. As a servant of God, he did not lead his family to pray to God when encountering troubles but sought his own safety. Even when the concubine fell at his door, the first thing he said was to tell her to get up. When he realised that she was dead, he cut her into pieces for his own avenge.
We are also like that, when people came to our door, we did not provide support and lead them to Jesus, instead we pushed them out to this world into the darkness. Jesus gave us the Great Commission to preach to the nations and disciple them to follow Jesus.
Section Two: V8-25 Walk in Front of God
When people live in presumption and own judgement, they cannot align with God. The Israelites came together to fight against their own brother instead of the enemy. When they came to Canaan, they compromised with the idols and cultures of the Canaanites, and their ways of doing things became like the Canaanites. They fight in their own flesh desires, but they thought they were doing the right thing. When we become Christians, we still live in this world and when we compromised with the worldly values, then we will make decisions according to our flesh desires, which are from this world.
Everything has two sides, but the Israelites only listened to the story of one side and they made a decision. They thought they were doing a righteous thing, they thought the judgement was up to them. 400 thousand people from 11 tribes came against 26 thousand and seven hundred people from Benjamin. Without a fair judgement they started the fight. The people of Benjamin and of Gibeah did not get a chance to speak for themselves. They did not get a chance to find out about the truth because everything happened too quickly. We are also like the Israelites; we are blinded by the things we thought are righteous. No one is righteous and God is the only Judge.
Furthermore, from the very beginning they did not seek God, from when they gathered even until they made the decision, they didn’t ask God. They treated God like a fortune teller, they already decided on what to do, and only wanted an approval from God. We are not demanding God to come here to listen to us, we are to listen to God in every decision. All Israelites could see was their own strength and their own flesh desires. Back in the days, the Israelites treated the left-handed as handicap but even the handicap were able to sling a stone accurately. The Israelites did not find out the problems within themselves, they just wanted to fight with their strength, even those who were considered handicap were called to fight.
When we walk in front of God, is God really going to lead us? Is God really going to answer us when we started wrong? The Israelites thought they received an answer from God, so they sent the tribe of Judah to fight, but 22 thousand were killed. The second time they went up again and 18 thousand were killed. Out of the army of 400 thousand people, 40 thousand were killed – that was 10% of the army! Therefore, God had just let them receive the answers according to their own desires.
Section Three: V26-48 Return and Seek
This time, the Israelites all came together, and everyone was fasting and praying. They offered burnt offerings and peace offerings to God, and at the time the ark of the covenant of God was there, with the high priest standing before, indicating that those Israelites were not really seeking God previously. When we pray and seek God, where is the priest of God and where is the presence of God? Or are we just praying to ourselves?
The first two times, there was no mentioning of the ark and of the high priest, they received the answer they wanted and fought in their own flesh. But this time, God told them clearly to go and fight the Benjamites. When Israelites were willing to turn back and seek God, the presence of God will come back upon them.
We might have done many things wrong to others, but when we are willing to turn back, to repent and to seek God, His rod and His staff will still comfort us, His mercy will still be with us. Let us not make mistake again and again but turn back to God with a humble heart.
Lord, thank You for Your Word coming to our lives and let Your Holy Spirit shine upon us. Show us where we went wrong in the beginning, when we live in our own flesh desires and in the things we thought were right. We made presumptions in our decisions instead of seeking You. Forgive us for our wilfulness in our lives, forgive us for passing on the confused messages to others, forgive us for walking in front You not following You.
Help us to come humbly before You, oh Lord, bind every sin in us that leads us to this world’s values. We declare we belong to You, Lord, and we will rely on You completely. We want to align with You not with this world. All judgement comes from You, because only You are righteous. Release us, through Your love and compassion we can receive freedom. Then we can bring blessings and the Word of God into the people around us. Amen.
3b-7, 当以色列11个支派凭血气聚集的时候，他们听到的都是一面倒的话。利未人说“基比亚人”围住他住的房子，但其实不是所有基比亚人，只是那些匪类。基比亚人若听到这个，肯定觉得冤枉，不承认这些匪类属于他们。然而，利未人对基比亚人的控诉带出很严重的后果（20:13）。我们要小心自己说的话，我们传递事情的时候，是在客观描述，还是加上了自己的情绪，带来伤害？就好像这个利未人，并没有讲自己不对的问题 – 其实是他自己害死了他的情妇。一个服事神的人，在危难中，没有带着家人跪下来求告神，反而把自己的女人推出去给那些匪徒，只求自己能够平安，即使第二天看到这女人想回家的情景，都还只是冷血地叫她起来赶路。最后还把所有的事都怪罪在别人身上。我们何尝不是如此？当人来到我们面前需求神的话语时，我们只是让人出去了，让他们披露在外面的狮子和熊面前，结果我们还怪是外面世界的问题，却没有想到自己的问题。当我们没有听从耶稣基督的大使命，好好牧养门徒时，是我们害了他们，我们还不自知。
15-18，这些从11支派来的40万以色列人开头根本就没有求问神，一直到把自己的事情都预备好了，才将神拿来当算命先生一样求问。这11个支派有40万都是战士，而便雅悯支派只有2万6千，其中拣选的精兵是“左手便利”的 – 这在当时的社会是相当于残废的。所以11支派的以色列人因着人数多不怕便雅悯人，然而就是这2万6千便雅悯人就保护了自己的弟兄，那40万的以色列人还以为自己替天行道。其实两边都有做得不对的地方，都是凭自己的血气、“众志成城”来争斗。当我们走在神的前面，没有走在神的心意里时，我们求问神，神真的会回答我们吗？18节这里讲的“犹大”本来就是以色列中行军走在前面的支派。
24-25，到第二次攻击，以色列人方一共死了4万人 – 损失了十分之一。这说明之前神给他们的答复都只是按着他们自己的想法来给而已。