Wednesday, January 26, 2011
And all who saw it said, "Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; consider it, take counsel, and speak."
This is a difficult passage to read. The social fabric of Israel had deteriorated to such a point that God's design for the nation was impossible to see. The Israelites were living like Canaanites. Here is how the society looked. 1) Polygamy was not looked down upon. 2) a lack of hospitality to strangers was experienced... unheard of even today in the Middle East. 3) complete abandon to any sexual impulse marked at least one city: Gibeah. 4) The sexual abuse and murder of a young woman in the city square goes without legal recourse in that same city.
When one man seeks justice for this tragedy, he resorts to macabre horror tactics to get the attention of the leaders throughout Israel. He ships body parts of the murder victim to each tribe in Israel, hoping the shock value will unite the tribes against the Benjamites who murdered her. It is really a dark story... not the kind of thing that ever made a flannelgraph lesson in Sunday School.
The end of the book of Judges shows the total unraveling of civility. It is no accident that this unraveling begins with a tale of idolatry. When we abandon God for our own ends, we will find darkness. It is inevitable. Human nature is such that if left without God's guidance and commitment it will follow the dark dictates of selfish desire. We have seen it even today. The 20th century was the deadliest century in terms of wars and human destruction. And science, which claimed to be a light for humanity, was a major reason why. God was abandoned in worship of technology. Naturalism and evolutionism made the abandonment of moral standards easier. In return we got mass murdering philosophies such as genocide, eugenics, fascism, communism, and relativistic moralism. The reality is that we are no better now in the 21st century. Our darkness is just more individualized and fractured... with postmodern philosophy leaving fragments of the 20th century philosophies around like unexploded bombs, waiting for individuals or splinter groups to tinker with and set off an explosion.
We are not better without God. That is the sad observation of my society. And for the most part our world knows it is not better. It just refuses to acknowledge that there is a spiritual source to this problem.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13