Tuesday, 2nd February 2021
In Chapter 20 we saw that all the people of Israel gathered at Mizpah except for the tribe of Benjamin. God meant for them to carry out a fair judgement, but without the tribe of Benjamin being present, it was never fair at the very beginning.
Section One: V1-14 Walk in the Flesh, Walk in the Confusion, Still not Enough
A terrible thing happened here. The Israelites killed the people of Benjamin, then they came to God and asked why this would happen? They made the disaster themselves and asked God to fix it. The next day they offered the burnt offerings and peace offerings, like nothing had happen. When we cry out to God, we should not just cry and complain, then pretend nothing has happened in the next day. The Israelites came before God only to vent their emotions, they did not really lay down themselves, repent and return to God. We should not live in wilfulness, but when we fast and pray, we should cry out to God, then repent and return to Him, for God will not despise a broken and a contrite heart.
The Israelites did not inquire from God, but they tried to solve the problem according to their own ways. They were already in the wrong path, but they continued to sin without asking God. God wanted to bless the 12 tribes, but now the Israelites had made a mistake (almost killing a whole tribe) and stopped the blessings for God to come upon them. They wanted to use their own ways to hide their own wrongdoings. When we don’t have the presence of God and when we don’t seek God, even if we want to fix our mistakes, we will fall into another mistake.
In order to keep the tribe of Benjamin in the 12 tribes, the Israelites took the women of Jabesh Gilead and gave them to Benjamin. In verse 13, the Israelites announced peace to the people of Benjamin, but they did not bring truth and teaching to them. Even after they gave all the women from Jabesh Gilead, it was still not enough, because the people of Benjamin did not appreciate for what they had. Without true repentance, we will make the same mistake again and again and never learn our lessons.
Section Two: V15-26 Without Teaching, Without Truth, People Act in Wilfulness
When the Israelites offered the women of Jabesh Gilead, the people of Benjamin were not satisfied with the offer. In confusion we cannot settle but becoming more confused. We want to settle things in our own, but without walking out of confusion we cannot make things right. When they realised the tribe of Benjamin will have no descendant, they were sad. At the very beginning it was one Levite, who pushed his concubine out of the door to the thieves. We need to see the whole truth, the real murderer was this Levite, but why did the tribe of Benjamin need to pay the price?
The conclusion of the Israelites was it was God’s problem. The elders spoke out finally in verse 16. They never spoke in the past but when they concluded it was God’s problems then the elders spoke. At the beginning it was caused by the thieves, but at the end the Israelites became thieves themselves and taught the people of Benjamin to catch the girls at Shiloh, the people of Benjamin would not learn the lesson and the Israelites compromised with their wilfulness.
The war started with the concubine of the Levite being mistreated, but at the end they took all the women of Jabesh Gilead and caught the daughters of Shiloh. They lived in the flesh, lived in the confusion, and lived in the sins. they were covered by their own wrongdoings and were making one mistake after another. All they wanted to do was just to solve their pressing problems without truly seeking God’s presence in their lives.
We need to live in the light of God all our lives, not to live in confusion or to cover our sins. We need to walk with God all our lives.
We are just like the Israelites, we wanted to come out of our confusion, but without Your presence, O Lord, we will just come out from one confusion into another confusion. Often, we repent our sins but when we turned around, we sinned again. We did not really seek You, we thought repentance is to compromise with our mistakes. But today You want us to see, without true teaching, nothing can take away our confusions. Help us to really repent and return, to connect our authorities, we need to always live in Your presence, Lord. Come teach us O Lord, how to walk this path. Everything we have is from You, we can never be satisfied without You. We need Your presence, not just to solve our problems, but to be with us always. Amen.
一，1-14：走在血气里 走在混乱里 还是不够
4, 百姓哭了一个晚上，觉得没事了，就自己筑坛献祭 – 这是迦南人拜偶像做的事。他们并没有像在20章26-28节那样认罪、让大祭司来献祭。这次他们好像20:23节一样，只是来到神面前宣泄的情绪，没有真正放下自己，认罪悔改。我们在神面前是否也是这样？当我们禁食的时候，是否有一个伤心痛悔的灵？忧伤痛悔的心神必不轻看。
二，15-25：没有教导 没有真理 各人任意而行
15, 百姓将问题归咎到神身上 – 但神当初只是将便雅悯人交在以色列人手中做审判，查清事件的原委，知道其实当时是那个利未人自己将他的情妇推出去，真正的凶手是这个利未人。然而以色列11支派没有让便雅悯人出来对质，反怪在神的身上。