Pericope: Judges 21:24-25
As I read through today’s passage, I was affirmed once again of the atrocities that occur when God’s people live outside the boundaries of the grace of community with God. The entire book of Judges seems to be writing that depicts Israel’s dark spot in history as their hearts slowly drifted away from God. There were blips of the appearance of faithfulness when God would raise up a deliverer for His people when they whined long enough in their bondage. But in reality, the perspective is well described in the final chapter of this messy book: “In those days Israel had no king. Each man did what he considered to be right.” Truly, Israel’s king was Yahweh. But, alas, it remains true that Israel had no king. She had a habit of leaving her King and then running back to him in the midst of her trouble. The more she ran away, the more wicked she became, the more sick the community of Israel grew to be. When the Community of Yaheweh is neglected, then the community becomes sick as His presence fades. We can see this on an individual and corporate level in the final story in Judges. The Levite had a dysfunctional relationship with his concubine (should he have even had a concubine?), he was sick and demented (he gave his concubine to the wicked men and then carved up his concubine when she was found dead). Corporately, we see Israel living with wickedness in their presence (the homosexual men who wanted to rape the Levite) and the tribe of Benjamin refuses to let justice be done (they harbored wicked men). They were people who neglected their relationship with God and violated their covenant with Him. Today, God’s people must be careful to make sure they are living in right relationship with God through the Son. If we leave the Son, then we leave right relationship with the Father. If we remain in Him, then he will remain in us and we will continue to have good spiritual health and wellness. So, we must be careful if we are living outside of the community of God and His people. If that happens to be what we choose, then let us not be surprised when we see wickedness abound and the effects of wickedness personally touch our lives. Leaving community with God with has severe consequences.