(Today's post by Chris Queen)
There are so many Bible stories that we equate with childhood. Some of us remember hearing a teacher with a flannel-graph and cutouts of apostles, prophets, and, of course Jesus with the white robe and blue sash. I remember Alice Jones (yes, the famous Mrs. Alice even taught me as a kid) and later great youth pastors like Gary and Scott making so many of these famous episodes from God’s Word come to life for me.
And then there’s Judges 19. There are no flannelgraphs to go along with this story and no cute crafts. The kids in E-town won’t see any sketches or sing any songs about this chapter. In fact, if someone made it into a movie, it would be rated R at its mildest, as a story of infidelity, homosexuality, rape, and murder.
Judges 19 begins with Israel leaderless and steeped in sin. A man travels to Bethlehem to retrieve a concubine who had run away from him. He then winds up spending a few days with her family. Heading back home, he stops in Gibeah, where an old man takes him in for the night. Here, the story takes an unfathomably horrible turn:
22 While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.”
23 The owner of the house went outside and said to them, “No, my friends, don’t be so vile. Since this man is my guest, don’t do this outrageous thing.24 Look, here is my virgin daughter, and his concubine. I will bring them out to you now, and you can use them and do to them whatever you wish. But as for this man, don’t do such an outrageous thing.”
25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight.
27 When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up; let’s go.” But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home.
29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Just imagine! We must do something! So speak up!”
Israelite men performed unspeakable acts on a young woman, and her master, like a character out of a David Fincher movie, hacks her into pieces and sends the pieces to the tribes of Israel as some sort of wake up call. I’ve struggled with what to take away from this chapter, but I can’t help but think about how I deal with the sins of others around me and how I react when others point out sin in my life.
How do you react when people you trust point out sin in your life?
If you have to confront a loved one about sin, how do you approach it?
When it comes to dealing with sin, what can you take away from this chapter?