In Judges 21, the tribes of Israel had sought the Lord’s counsel and obediently battled the tribe of Benjamin. This all derails with their ill-conceived plan to preserve the tribe – apparently without divine counsel. When God’s people make a habit of failing to consult Him, they end up confused about right and wrong, wisdom and foolishness.
When the men of Israel met them at Mizpeh, they were so taken back by the terrible crime these men of Gibeah had committed, that they refused to let their daughters marry a man of Benjamin. They were so disgusted that they took an oath that anyone who did not fight against the Benjamites and this terrible sin would be killed. This shows how strongly they felt about it. The Israelites made an oath not to “give” their daughters to the 600 surviving Benjamites (20:47). But they realized that they would fade as a tribe unless they had wives since the Benjamite women had died in the total sack of Gibeah. This resulted in a whole myriad of immoral solutions to the problem (v.11-12, 23). Whenever God’s Word and His standards are not honored, big problems arise.
So the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. (v.2) They wept – not only for the 40,000 Israelites that were slain – but for the tribe of Benjamin who was in danger. They may not survive this and would be lost as a tribe of Israel.
It came about the next day that the people arose early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. (v. 4)
What do you do when you’re at a point of desperation? They worshiped God. There’s huge power in this lesson. I don’t know what you’re dealing with – what’s wrecking your world right now – but go to God in prayer and worship. Prayer to ask Him to move – worship to make sure your focus is on Him as the Omnipotent, Sovereign, Ruler of the Universe – that’s able – more than able to work through your issue.
By: Tim Parsons — Lead Pastor