1/10/13. Judges 20:17-48. God’s Justice Take Too Far – my devotional

1/10/13. Judges 20:17-48. God’s Justice Taken Too Far – my devotional

Judges 20:17-48

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Key Verse: 20:26                                                                                                                                                    Kevin Jesmer NIU UBF

Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord.

    Dear Lord God, thank you for blessing the presentation of the proposed mission to KBC elders. Please ignite within our hearts a desire to participate in world mission. May our hearts burn for the things that you are concerned with. May obeying Jesus “World Mission Command” inspire us to reach out and serve people in our community. Lord, I pray that you help me understand your word to me today. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Part 1: A Hard And Bloody War (17-45).

God wanted his people, in this Old Testament time, to be instruments of justice. Look at verses 17-45, “Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fit for battle.18 The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?”The Lord replied, “Judah shall go first.” …(See the rest of the verses at the bottom of this devotional.)

The Benjamites were confident of victory. They had some skillful special forces. The Israelites were defeated badly in the first onslaught. They wept before the Lord and sought God’s help. They inquired of God and received his direction. But again, they were defeated by the Benjamites and suffered huge losses. A second time they wept before the Lord. The Israelites fasted, prayed and offered fellowship offerings. God sent them out again and this time the Lord gave them victory. They set a successful ambush and won the war.

There is a principle to hold onto here…God gives victory to those who humbly seek him in prayer and seek to bring about justice and righteousness. We need to humble ourselves and pray and decide to pray for all things. We need to have the right motive all we do, that justice and righteousness be upheld. Then we commit everything to the Lord. Does that mean that there will always be success? Not always from our point of view. But God’s will, will be played out. (Not always according to what we expect or want however.) I will always remember that I was blessed in nursing school. I committed my studies to the Lord. I dedicated my future career of nursing to the Lord. I prayed before taking each exam. And though I could only do 75% of the readings one time, God blessed the studies and I became a nurse. God blessed it. We need to dedicate the prayer to serve the First Nations People’s with a clear desire for God’s justice and righteousness to prevail in peoples’ hearts. We need to pray and trust in God. We need to dedicate all that we do for the glory of God.

What does, “Living for God’s justice and righteousness” mean to us today? We can think about this in terms of the Gospel.     God’s justice is also Jesus. Because of our sins we were the ones who were to be punished and condemned. That would be the outcome of justice. But Jesus, the perfect, holy sacrifice shed his blood on the cross. He suffered and died for us. His blood satisfied all the demands of justice and we, through faith, can be declared, “Not guilty”. We are set free on account of Jesus’ blood. Jesus is our justice.

Jesus is our righteousness. He is the way to enter into a state of grace…of forgiveness and be made right before God. When we are clothed in Christ, through faith, Jesus becomes our righteousness and we are acceptable to the God and become members of God’s family and have eternal life.

I thank God for helping us to be declared righteous and justified without sending an army to destroy us. God sent Jesus to die for us instead. This is God’s perfect way of salvation.

Part 2: Over-Zealous For Vengeance (46-48).

Apparently the people, whom were to be instruments of God’s justice went a little too far. Look at verses 46-48. They read, “On that day twenty-five thousand Benjamite swordsmen fell, all of them valiant fighters. 47 But six hundred of them turned and fled into the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, where they stayed four months. 48 The men of Israel went back to Benjamin and put all the towns to the sword, including the animals and everything else they found. All the towns they came across they set on fire.”

In their zeal to rid evil from the land, the Israelites put all the towns in Benjamin to the sword. Only 600 men survived. When there is no restraint, those who tried to purge evil from Israel became more evil.

We need to do things in God’s way. We cannot go overboard. How many Christians have started to do something for the glory of God and did not pray about things and let things get out of hand and then, instead of their efforts becoming redemptive, they become destructive? We need to be in tune with the Holy Spirit. We need to be in tune with what God is doing. I pray, that as we move forward with this mission movement, that we may know when to move and when to back off. Help us never to go ahead of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for Jesus being our righteousness and justice. I am forgiven because of Jesus.

One Word: Be in step with the will of God.


17 Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fit for battle.18 The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?”The Lord replied, “Judah shall go first.”19 The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah. 20 The Israelites went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah. 21 The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day. 22 But the Israelites encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day. 23 The Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and they inquired of the Lord. They said, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites?”The Lord answered, “Go up against them.”24 Then the Israelites drew near to Benjamin the second day. 25 This time, when the Benjamites came out from Gibeah to oppose them, they cut down another eighteen thousand Israelites, all of them armed with swords.26 Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. 27 And the Israelites inquired of the Lord. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, 28 with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?”The Lord responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.”29 Then Israel set an ambush around Gibeah. 30 They went up against the Benjamites on the third day and took up positions against Gibeah as they had done before. 31 The Benjamites came out to meet them and were drawn away from the city. They began to inflict casualties on the Israelites as before, so that about thirty men fell in the open field and on the roads—the one leading to Bethel and the other to Gibeah. 32 While the Benjamites were saying, “We are defeating them as before,” the Israelites were saying, “Let’s retreat and draw them away from the city to the roads.”33 All the men of Israel moved from their places and took up positions at Baal Tamar, and the Israelite ambush charged out of its place on the westof Gibeah.34 Then ten thousand of Israel’s able young men made a frontal attack on Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that the Benjamites did not realize how near disaster was. 35 The Lord defeated Benjamin before Israel, and on that day the Israelites struck down 25,100 Benjamites, all armed with swords. 36 Then the Benjamites saw that they were beaten.Now the men of Israel had given way before Benjamin, because they relied on the ambush they had set near Gibeah. 37 Those who had been in ambush made a sudden dash into Gibeah, spread out and put the whole city to the sword. 38 The Israelites had arranged with the ambush that they should send up a great cloud of smoke from the city, 39 and then the Israelites would counterattack.The Benjamites had begun to inflict casualties on the Israelites (about thirty), and they said, “We are defeating them as in the first battle.” 40 But when the column of smoke began to rise from the city, the Benjamites turned and saw the whole city going up in smoke.41 Then the Israelites counterattacked, and the Benjamites were terrified, because they realized that disaster had come on them. 42 So they fled before the Israelites in the direction of the wilderness, but they could not escape the battle. And the Israelites who came out of the towns cut them down there. 43 They surrounded the Benjamites, chased them and easilyoverran them in the vicinity of Gibeah on the east. 44 Eighteen thousand Benjamites fell, all of them valiant fighters. 45 As they turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, the Israelites cut down five thousand men along the roads. They kept pressing after the Benjamites as far as Gidom and struck down two thousand more.


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