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The worst story in the Bible, and how it may be about us

March 15, 2024

According to me, the most horrifying book in the Bible is the book of Judges.

It has stories of deception, treachery, human sacrifice, and worse.

But the worst story comes right at the end, where an Israelite man’s wife is brutally raped by his own fellow Israelites, and she is murdered right in front of a house they take shelter in.

I’m not going to get into the story too much and you can read it for yourself in Judges 19, but there is one interesting bit of the story that I noticed.

This man was traveling along with his wife and servant, and as they came to a city, the servant said, “Come, let’s stop at this city of the Jebusites and spend the night.”

But the man replied, “No. We won’t go into any city whose people are not Israelites”, and they went to a city called Gibeah.

This man decided he would not spend the night in a place filled with strangers, because he thought that that would be too dangerous for him.

He decided that an Israelite city, Gibeah, was much safer for him, and his family.

How wrong he was!

As he found shelter in a house, the Benjaminites of that city, his own fellow Israelites, surrounded the house, and demanded that the owner of the house open the door so that they could rape this man – the owner’s guest.

But somehow, they got to the man’s wife, and the Bible says that they raped and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak, the woman went back to the house, fell at the door, and died.

The man found no safety in a city where he thought his own people would protect him.

The woman found no protection in a city filled with Israelites.

They had gone to Gibeah to stay safe, but they only found brutality and death.

Why am I saying this?

Because I can’t help but wonder if Gibeah is a reflection of our churches today.

I can’t help but wonder If our churches are places where people come, looking for safety, but only receive judgement and hurt.

Where people come with all their baggage – with their shame, guilt, and past wounds; and all we offer to them is blame and more shame.

Jesus called sinners to repent, but He sat and ate with them before He did that.

He loved them and healed them, and His love transformed their lives.

When people came to Him, they wanted to be safe, and that’s exactly what they got – they were saved.

That’s exactly what we got too.

Do we, as His church, extend that grace?

Do we reflect Jesus, as we should? Or do we reflect Gibeah?

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. - James 2:12-13

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