Martha Balkin, Worship and Arts
When I described today’s verses to a friend of mine, she said, “Wow! That sounds like an episode of Law and Order: SVU!” I told Pastor Scott that I really preferred writing about the New Testament, but, not surprisingly, that didn’t get me off the hook. So, I returned to Judges to try and understand what lesson such a horrible story could have for me.
I read again about the awful relationship between the man and his concubine, the appalling men of the town where they were staying, and the devastating revenge war on the tribe of Benjamin, and wondered what God wanted me to learn. And as simple as it sounds, the answer came from Judges 21:25, “In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”
Everything was wrong in this story: the man and his concubine were not getting along–either because she was unfaithful or he was angry. Her father continually detained the pair. The people of Gibeah were at first inhospitable and ultimately violent and murderous. The twelve tribes were split and at war, and the human losses were huge. Everything was out of whack because all of the people just did “whatever seemed right in their own eyes.”
It’s tempting to make comparisons to today’s world and its ills, but the bottom line is that we all need a King—a Savior and Redeemer. When we go our own way, nothing makes sense, and it’s difficult to find a good message or outcome. When our trust is in the Lord, however, and our eyes are fixed on what He tells us is right, the victory is ours.