Judges 13-19~ This reading definitely has some important take-aways!!

Again, I found myself wondering what I can get out of this terribly sad reading we are doing in Judges.  I was sad reading about Sampson (ch. 16), but my stomach turned reading chapter 19!  In fact, my 8-year-old son, who was sitting across the room from me when I was reading said, "What are you doing with your face, Mom?"  I laughed when I realized he had looked at me right when my face was twisted with horror as I read about the poor concubine.
I simply said, "I don't like what I am reading!" Thankfully, he didn't ask what I was reading specifically,....yet he knew it was from the Bible. 😬😳 I wonder what that little guy thought of that answer?!... I should probably talk to him about it later.  But, at the time, I couldn't respond with much more.....I wouldn't have been able to explain the Bible right then and there for him...I needed time to process...what am I reading?... and why is this in the Bible?!!

Well, I have processed now, and this is what I think: these verses are VERY important for Christians to read and take to heart!  That's right!  Let me explain,....

The story is about Israelites, the choosen people of God. Let's liken them to the equivalent of those who call themselves Christians today. Even though they thought they were "religious", they were not obeying God! Doesn't that sound familiar?
These were ALL Israelites, the Levite who went to get his concubine, the man who took the Levite into his home in Gibeah (19:12), and the wicked men of the city who surrounded the house, yet you couldn't tell that they were set apart from the pegan world around them! They engaged in all the ill practices of the pagen world.  Remember we read, "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit." (17:6). These stories show how quickly Israel had gotten off course!   The Israelites had the words Moses wrote, yet they didn't follow God's commands.  They actually thought having the "look of righteousness was good enough. Micah was a good example of that when he hired a Levite to live with him and be his priest (17:10), yet he didn't practice righteousness!  He made himself an image, after all, breaking the #1 commandment of the top 10!

In the same way, those who call themselves Christians today can be guilty of the same thing! We have the Word of God, in print, and readily available, yet we don't read it or live by it.  Some, who claim to be Christians, act according to how they feel or act by what false teachers teach, instead of reading the Word themselves.  This is why Peter takes the time to write a letter of warning about this very issue. He, through the Holy Spirit, exhorts us, "..watch out for false teachers (2:1) and scoffers (3:3) that are in the church. (2 Peter 2)  "They (false teachers) will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them...Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute." (2 Peter 2:2). Many "in the church", did you catch that?!! They have a look of being righteous, but hearts are far from God.  

That is why reading Judges is very important!  These chapters are stark reminders of how Christians can go off course yet still feel like they are in the right as they do what they "see fit".  There is only one way to righteousness.  Jesus says he is the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6)  Period! There is no other way.  He is our king and we need to do what he says. You gotta read the Bible to know what he says!  If we don't, as the Israelites eventually learned, it doesn't go well.....😳. By reading Judges we have been forwarned as to what can easily happen to us. Again, it's good to hear Peter's reminder, "Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position." (2 Peter 3:17) Stay on course and keep reading the Bible!!

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