Feeling Righteous Indignation? Be Careful Not to Become a Self-appointed Providence of God.
Today I read about the atrocity at Gibeah. To be honest, I didn’t want to keep reading because it was so awful.
A man & his concubine were traveling home, but the sun was setting so they hurried forward to a fellow Israelite town. The safety they sought, however, was not provided as the wicked men of the town sought to rape the man. They ended up settling for his concubine, whom they raped unto death.
I said it was awful, but it gets worse. The man cuts up his dead concubine into 12 pieces & sends them to the 12 tribes of Israel as a way to summon them to action.
His plan works. 400,000 men gather & decide to go to battle against their Benjamite brothers. And that is where the problems begins…they decide without consulting the Lord.
By all observable facts, it seems like the right thing to do because the Benjamites refuse to give up the wicked men.
The Israelites DO ask the Lord which tribe should lead in battle. He says Judah, but they lose over 22,000 Israelites. The next day they ask the Lord IF they should fight & He says yes, but again they lose another 18,000 men. Finally, the Israelites weep before the Lord, fasting until evening when they bring Him burnt & peace offerings.
This time they ask the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives again OR should we stop?”
Finally the Lord replies with a victorious promise, telling them to fight.
The cause was ripe with righteous indignation. What the tribe of Benjamin allowed was beyond-words bad, & yet the Lord allowed Israel to repeatedly fail, suffering shame & sorrow.
They didn’t ask God IF they should go to battle, but rather HOW. They acted as the providence of God without the order of God.
The Israelites went to war without first fasting, cleansing their own hearts & seeking God’s will & way. Warring with righteous indignation is only winsome when our hearts are clean & the Lord is our lead. The repeated failures remind the men of their need of Him.
Father, there are many opportunities for righteous indignation today. May we act or speak only at Your command. Cleanse our hearts & guard us from becoming a self-appointed, fallible providence of God. Your will & way is the only winsome way!
May 4th One Year Bible Readings