Sin’s Bizarre End: Today we wind up one of the saddest periods is Israel’s history—to quote John MacArthur, “Judges 17-21 vividly demonstrates how bizarre and deep sin can become when people throw off the authority of God …”
The consequences of rejecting His authority are not pretty. As one sin leads to another, the results are sad, costly, and sometimes downright bizarre. The book of Judges ends with several examples, including how to get your relatives attention and how to get a wife.
Judges 20 & 21
Judges 20 & 21:
Grab Your Partner … Do-Si-Do
Can you imagine telling some cousins, we’re sorry you don’t have any women to marry, but some of our other cousins are having a party and the girls will be out back dancing. So just grab some of them and we’ll look the other way!? Or how about offering your virgin daughter to a bunch of rapists or shaking up your complacent relatives by sending a part of your murdered wife’s body to each family. It makes you wonder why the human race has even survived this long … only because of the grace of God!
Our Own Bizarre Consequences
But before we criticize our spiritual ancestors too harshly, we need to look at our nation today. Where has sin and the rejection of God led us?
… to men who bomb, kill, and maim innocent people to further some cause.
… to increasing numbers of people who commit murder-suicide, even of their own children, because of some grievance.
… to aborting our babies when pregnancy is inconvenient.
… to the acceptance of homosexuality and other forms of immoral sexual behavior as just other lifestyle choices.
… to parents who defend their rebellious children instead of allowing them to suffer the consequences of their rebellion.
… to rampant divorce, adultery, abuse, fornication, self-harm, and the list could go on and on.
While laws and vigilance may help, the only real hope is for revival, starting in our own hearts. Then we must prepare ourselves to “be witnesses to [Him] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1.8b).
And when we’re tempted to feel like it’s hopeless, we need to remember that a handful of men and women going out in the power of the Holy Spirit to share the love and truth of God, without TV, radio, computers, planes, or any modern conveniences … turned the known world upside down (Acts 17.6)!
Today’s Other Readings:
What God Desires
Verse 17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.”
What God desires is a broken heart. Not one given over to despair, but someone who has come to the end of himself, sees his own sinfulness and need for a Savior, whose heart is tender toward the Word and with a desire to obey at any cost.
The Tongue Reveals the Heart
Verses 1-2, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”
The Bible has a great deal to say about the tongue. It is the great revealer of what is in the heart.
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12.24b).
A soft answer demonstrates patience and mercy for others and has great potential for good. Wise use of knowledge demonstrates a desire to please God rather than using knowledge to harm others, advance our own agendas, or just spilling everything and revealing our own foolishness.
Faithful in Little
Verse 17, “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’”
Each of us received at least one spiritual gift when we were born again. Sometimes we look at others and the gifts they have with envy. Other times we just don’t understand how God could use us or doubt that we have any real gifts at all. But God can do great things when we allow Him to take our “little” mixed with obedience and a desire to please Him!
What about you?
Do you need to pray for revival in your own heart and life?
Are you being faithful with the gifts, talents, and resources that God has given you?
Do you wonder what your spiritual gifts are? One way to find out is to just get in motion serving the Lord. In the midst of it, God will often make our gifts clearer. But sometimes a spiritual gifts assessment can help. If you would like to take one, there are several available online. Elmer Towns has one that is fairly easy to take and is free of charge.
Let me know what you learn.
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