Thoroughly Equipped: Thy Kingdom Come

Today our reading includes Judges 19:1-20:48, John 3:22-4:3, Psalm 104:24-35, Proverbs 14:22-24.

Our reading yesterday set the stage for a disastrous situation.  It is wrought with wrong.  The times were confusing, and wrong seemed right and right seemed wrong.  It was a time of chaos.  The ungodliness continued to grow even more ungodly.  We realize that this is the theme of those times because of one sentence that is repeated over several chapters.  Chapter 18 begins like this:

In those days Israel had no king.

                               Judges 18:1

And then it continues to tell the historical account of idol worship, theft, and threats.  This led to unrighteousness battles, including attacks against a peaceful people who were ill-equipped to fight.  As we move on to Chapter 19, we see the common theme repeated.  Chapter 19 begins like this:

In those days Israel had no king.

                                    Judges 19:1

And the disturbing saga continues and becomes even more disturbing.  The ungodliness continues to grow even more ungodly.  This vile account includes perversion, gang rape, murder, and revenge.  As we end Chapter 19, there seems to be an awakening to the dramatic moral fall the society had experienced.  The chapter ends with this declaration:

29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Just imagine! We must do something! So speak up!”

                                                                        Judges 19:29-30

The Lord was pleased that they were finally standing up to evil.  They were finally returning to seek his wisdom.  And the evil had to be eradicated.

18 The Israelites went up to Bethel[b] and inquired of God. They said, “Who of us is to go up first to fight against the Benjamites?”

The Lord replied, “Judah shall go first.” 

                                                                                                           Judges 20:18

At the time, Bethel was becoming the worship center of the Promise land.  So, instead of inquiring of the household idols, as Micah did, they went straight to the source and inquired of God.  The Lord replied that Judah, the tribe of the coming Savior should go first.  First things first, right?  Though they found the evil and their enemy to be a difficult foe, they continued to inquire of the Lord, and the Lord continued to guide them through the difficult battle.

22 But the Israelites encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day. 23 The Israelites went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and they inquired of the Lord. They said, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites?”

The Lord answered, “Go up against them.”

                                                                                                      Judges 20:22-23

Once again, the battle was difficult.  They appeared to be losing, but it sent them back to humbly seeking the Lord.  For the third time (see that holy number three!), they inquired of the Lord.  This time was marked by intense prayer, fasting, and humility.

26 Then all the Israelites, the whole army, went up to Bethel, and there they sat weeping before the Lord. They fasted that day until evening and presented burnt offerings and fellowship offerings to the Lord. 27 And the Israelites inquired of the Lord. (In those days the ark of the covenant of God was there, 28 with Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, ministering before it.) They asked, “Shall we go up again to fight against the Benjamites, our fellow Israelites, or not?”

The Lord responded, “Go, for tomorrow I will give them into your hands.”

                                                           Judges 20:26-28

And so He did.  This tragic story continues tomorrow, but let’s look ahead to how this timeframe is summed up.  For the third time, we see the common theme of those days summarized.  Chapter 21 ends in this way:

25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

                                                            Judges 21:25

In the midst of the terrible details of that time period, we find the reason for the decline of society.  The reason was, they had no king.  All through their years of wandering through the desert, as difficult as those days were, they had a “king”.  Was it Moses?  No, it was the Lord, who led them by a cloud and a pillar of fire.  And when Joshua was the leader and they conquered the Promise land, they had a “king”.  Was it Joshua?  No, it was the Lord, as indicated by the piles of stones of remembrance throughout the land.  But the decline in this time period is marked by these simple words.

25 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

                                                            Judges 21:25

What is the practical application for us?  We need a king.  Not a monarch in the political realm, but a King who sets up His kingdom in our hearts.  But in order for us to submit to the King of Kings, we have to put to death all other kings in our hearts.  Jesus taught us to pray saying,

“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

                                                                 Matthew 6:10

But for His kingdom to come in our hearts, our kingdom has to go.  If we submit to the King of kings, He will rule our life with love, justice, peace, and protection.

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