the men of Israel

Today's devotion from Judges 20.

Judges 20 continues the follow the tragic tale of the civil discord in Israel. The Levite did a remarkable job spinning his yarn. He just left out a few minor details. Like the fact that he threw the woman out the door to save himself. He embellished the tale by indicating the men wanted to kill him...which was not what they wanted at all. He seemed to be able to work a crowd, and this one was about to reach a frenzied pitch.

There was no king, so the Benjaminites felt that they had no need to respond. There was no accountability to an authority. The Israelites felt that they had to take matters into their own hands because there was no recognized higher authority to which they could appeal. Here we see the devastating consequences of a group of guys trying to figure it out on their own. Ultimately God sorted out their mess, but what could have been if they had not resented and resisted the authority of His Word?

What I mean to ask is why is this account in the book of Judges, but there is no judge. This account demonstrates to us what happens when men take matters into their hands without and appointed and recognized leader or system. No one validated the Levites accusations. No one investigated the events as they really happened. Thousands of people were killed because of a lack of accountability. There was no king, no authority, and the people simply did what they wanted.

I think this account is actually very well placed. Throughout the book of Judges we have seen other peoples as the enemy of the Israelites. In reality, the Israelites are just as much an enemy of their welfare as anyone else when they fail to follow God. It's just much easier to point fingers than to admit blame.

This episode is a reminder of the darkness that would envelop my life without God, and the chaos that would rule  without the order He brings. I am truly thankful for the positive accountability He placed in my life through those He gave authority over me. Submission is not a bad thing. Chaos is.