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Judges 17-21

3/14/2020 - 3/15/2020 - Judges 17-21

A Devotional Journey
     led by Dr. Gene Pearson                                                                                                                   
Thru the Bible in a Year
       This part of the book serves as an epilogue, showing the religious and moral degeneration of the people during this entire period.
       Israel’s corruption reaches new heights in the story of Micah and a young Levite from Bethlehem (claiming to be a descendent of Moses) who establish a place of local worship in Ephraim.   Since the [true] house of God was in Shiloh, this is a direct violation of Moses’ instructions (Deuteronomy 12).  This paganized worship of God is adopted by the entire tribe of Dan, and they move from the portion of the Promised Land assigned to them to the northern frontier of Israel. 
       The corrupting influence of sin is not restricted to the Canaanites, Philistines, Amorites or other pagan peoples living in the Land.  Members of the tribe of Benjamin, living in the town of Gibeah, commit an unspeakable act against a Levite and his concubine (a class of person unknown to us, but common in those days).  Her treatment and death is so vile that all of Israel is called to avenge it. 
       The Benjamites, however are determined to protect a town in their territory, whatever its crime, and are almost extinguished in the process.  In the end, justice is done, and the unity of Israel restored.  In the final narrative of the book, the rest of Israel devises a plan whereby the Benjamite men may each take a wife from the other tribes at a religious festival in the worship center of Shiloh.  While it is forbidden to give daughters from one tribe to another, it is decided that it would be all right if they were taken instead.
       To worship anything other than God is wrong, yet it is often said that we make our idols, even in societies like ours and among Christians like us.  If an idol is anything that is more important that the true and living God, is there such a thing in your life? 
       Consider your priorities (which are not defined by our words but by our actions and real life choices):  what is most important to you?  For what do you use most of your money?  On what do you spend most of your time?  Don’t assume that the pursuit of a career could never run in competition to God.  Don’t assume that recreation with your family could never be considered at odds with God’s will.
       Where do you think God wants you each and  every Sunday?  Are you there?  What gets in the way?  How much of your income should you set aside for Him (you might want to read Malachi 3:1-10 in the Old Testament before you answer).  Are you doing anything like that?  What place does God occupy in your life?
A. Eugene Pearson 2011