In Judges 21, I read the story of God’s people: their confusion and their woe. What shall they do for wives for the tribe of Benjamin? I read this chapter. Again, again. They must solve a problem. They will do it in their own way- with trickery to subvert more death and guilt.
And they commanded the people of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in ambush in the vineyards 21 and watch. If the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards and snatch each man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 And when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we will say to them, ‘Grant them graciously to us, because we did not take for each man of them his wife in battle, neither did you give them to them, else you would now be guilty.’” 23 And the people of Benjamin did so and took their wives, according to their number, from the dancers whom they carried off. Judges 21:20-23 ESV
In my mind’s eye, I see beautiful women being carried away. The account in this chapter begins with ambush (the people of Israel fulfilling their oath toward those who did not come up to Mizpah) and ends with ambush (snatching daughters of Shiloh).
And then this:
5 In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Judges 21:25 ESV
And my heart stops short. The fitting end to this chapter and this account. “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes…” And how wrong our right can be when oriented apart from God or away from Him. How dark is the darkness when the eye is not illumined by the light of Christ through faith?! This is truth I need to understand.
In Acts 25, I behold Paul. Prior to this chapter, I read:
“We have strictly bound ourselves by an oath to taste no food till we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore you, along with the council, give notice to the tribune to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case more exactly. And we are ready to kill him before he comes near.”
16 Now the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, so he went and entered the barracks and told Paul.” Acts 23:14-16 ESV
and also in Chapter 25:
2 And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him,3 asking as a favor against Paul[a] that he summon him to Jerusalem—because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way. Acts 25:2-3 ESV
Yet, chapter 25 reveals faith-filled and illuminated Paul who is utterly surrendered to the Lordship of Christ. Paul is single-minded in faith, devotion, and allegiance. He is shrewd, alert, and long suffering. The light of Christ shines. He does not seek to war in the flesh- taking matters into his own hands- instead, he makes the most of every opportunity provided and continues in steadfast faith and love.
Psalm 7: 1, 10-11
O Lord my God, in you do I take refuge;
save me from all my pursuers and deliver me,
My shield is with God,
who saves the upright in heart.
11 God is a righteous judge,
and a God who feels indignation every day. Psalm 7:1, 10-11 ESV
In Jeremiah 35, I read of the Lord’s indignation. Judah does not heed the command of the Lord. The Lord blesses the Rekabite family who faithfully and carefully keep the command of their forefather and He uses their obedience to instruct Judah and those in Jerusalem. In Acts, I behold Paul’s refuge in God.
Dear Lord, rather than trying to solve my difficulties apart from You, help me to surrender and trust in You! Help me to be strong and straight, illuminated in Your Light. Your love and Your grace continue, unrelenting, despite my weakness, frailty, and flesh. Let my heart craft prayers from Psalms 7 and 8.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 8:3,4 ESV
What is man? What is man that you care for him? But the miracle is – You do. You do.
“O Lord, Our Lord! How majestic is Your Name in all the earth.” Psalm 8:9 ESV