Now in those days Israel had no king. Judges 19:1a, NLT.
Community is my word for the year this year, and it stood out in these chapters, but not on the first pass. This reading left a series of impressions on leadership, sin, warfare, division, fighting, and loss–even in victory.
Eleven Israelite tribes unite against the tribe of Benjamin. They consult the Lord for direction.
22 But the Israelites encouraged each other and took their positions again at the same place they had fought the previous day. 23 For they had gone up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord until evening. They had asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again?”
And the Lord had said, “Go out and fight against them.” Judges 20:22-23, NLT.
And while victory was eventually theirs, they still felt a great sting–not only were thousands of lives lost in these battles, but they also recognized the potential impact of losing one of the twelve tribes.
25 In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Judges 21:25, NLT.
People will follow something: a good leader, a bad leader, or their own passions.
The apostles preach the saving Gospel and many lives are changed. The Holy Spirit inhabits hearts.
37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” Acts 2:37-39, NLT.
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.
43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47, NLT.
In the Old Testament, a community rallied within the tribe of Benjamin to support the sinful deeds of a few, while a larger community (the other eleven tribes) fought for justice and the integrity of the whole. In the New Testament, believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to sharing meals together, and to prayer.
These scriptures give me lots to think on regarding influence, leadership, and community.
Lord, I want your Holy Spirit to be my influence and leadership. I thank you for revealing a healthy view of community, and for bringing other believers into my life who share the same vision. I want to live in the awe of who you are and to experience life with you. I praise you.