We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine


Permission or Presumption, Part 2

Yesterday we discussed how an answer to prayer led an entire family to catastrophic ruin. In the book of Judges, chapter 1, Judah receives total victory in answer to prayer. In chapter 20, however, twenty-two thousand die in catastrophic defeat after receiving the green light from God. Why would God deliberately lead them to defeat?

A hideous sin has just occurred. A woman has just been murdered and cut up into 12 pieces. As one unified body, the tribes rise to eradicate this evil from their midst. Receiving another green light from God to go and fight, they are again devastated with the catastrophic loss of another eighteen thousand soldiers.

So the question again is, why? First, as I look back in chapter 1, I read that the children of Israel prayed to Yahweh–their covenant-keeping God. In chapter 20 they direct their initial prayer to Elohim–the mighty God. From chapters 1 to 20 Israel has lost their closeness with their personal God. As we learn in chapter 2, a whole generation has grown up without knowing the LORD (Yahweh) as everyone is doing that which is right in his own eyes. In chapter 20, they are still praying–but praying without a relationship–and the results are dismal to say the least.

Furthermore, God’s people are no longer fighting the enemy as they were in chapter one; now they are fighting each other. Believing themselves to be God’s instrument of judgment upon their wicked relatives, they instead became the recipients of God’s wrath.

The lesson from the book of Judges speaks loud and clear.When the sins of others stir our hearts to judge and avenge, let us be mindful to judge ourselves first, lest we be judged.

Published in: on February 1, 2011 at 3:47 am  Leave a Comment