Saturday, February 20, 2010
The Most Outrageous Chapter in the Bible
You might disagree with my awarding this verse for that title, but there is no doubt that many have felt horror in reading this particular passage. For my morning time with the Lord, I read at least one chapter of Old Testament, New Testament, and a Psalm. Currently I'm in Judges and Revelation and Psalm 119. As I sat down this morning, I knew that I was going to be reading Judges 19. I decided to see if I could find it online to listen to - if you are familiar at all with The Levite and his Concubine, you can understand my trepidation. It is a terrible, terrible tragedy.
But this time I get the context of what is going on a whole lot better. The Israelites are in a period of intense floundering, creating their own rules and ways. In Judges 17 we have a mother whose son steals from her; then when he confesses later, she practically idolizes him - and makes an image from the stolen silver for him to lead their family in worship. People are grasping for something or someone to revere and to lead them. They are back-stabbing and coniving, selling out to the highest bidder, the one with the coolest offer. Innocence is taken advantage of, led astray, and betrayed. Even the judges we read of are rather weak and wishy-washy. It is a truly a world where each is doing right in their own eyes.
So here we come to this story of a Levite who has had some sort of disagreement with his concubine. I have read translations that vary from this being an issue of unfaithfulness to simply an unknown quarrel. I encourage you to read the chapter for yourself. What seems apparent to me is that their whole world is turned upside-down. These men do not behave as MEN. Not one of them. They do not protect or defend the women in their lives. In fact, they willingly sacrifice them to save their own skin. To anyone who reads this chapter, the natural response is one of sickening outrage. It should be. I looked for commentaries on this particular passage and had to share this young lady's: http://www.judges19.com/ Please take the time to peruse her blog, and definitely read Shake Girl http://www.stanford.edu/group/cwstudents/shakegirl/pageturn.html I rankle at the wording of feminism, but a Godly view of the value of women in God's eyes and hands is right and meet.
One of my sons is currently serving as a member of http://www.ijm.org/ We are so grateful the Lord has provided him this path in which to take a stand to fight for justice. But his training began in our home with a view of the world and it's people as those made in the image of God - men, women, and children. But look here around us on our televisions, in our malls, the school yards, our neighborhoods. Women are objectified for their appearance only, depersonalized to an existence of what we see alone. Men are encouraged to lose all restraints in any and all directions. Children are treated with anything from complete disregard to the status of a feared deity whom we cannot disappoint. We have gone astray... lost, purposeless, aberrant.
But the Good News is this:
You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. Psalm 10:17-18
He hears and He knows. He saw and memorialized the actions of these men on that day, and He sees us today. How will our stories be written, our actions not only in our own regard, but our regard for others?