Judges / chapter 21 (read the chapter)
You might think that’s a funny title to describe a chapter of the Bible in which God never speaks. But, for me, that’s precisely the point, so I thought we’d get right to the point today. Did you notice God’s lack of participation in the dialogue of this chapter? The Israelites were asking a lot of questions, but they never received an answer.
I suppose that could mean several things. Perhaps God’s silence was the answer to their questions. Perhaps He was ignoring them. Or perhaps they didn’t wait long enough to get an answer at all. That’s what I think was going on. After all, God wasn’t in the habit of ignoring the Israelites. When they came to Him for help, He always engaged with them. They may not have always liked what He had to say, but He always answered them.
This time, however, I don’t think they were waiting for answers. They realized that they had thrown themselves into a predicament, and they were frantic to figure out how they were going to solve it. And although they asked God for answers, they didn’t wait on Him. Instead, they came up with their own solution. And it was a solution that involved more killing, kidnapping, and forced marriage.
Don’t you wish they had actually waited for God’s answers? What do you think He would have said? What would His solution have been to the problems Israel had created? I guess we’ll never know. And it really makes me wonder how many times in my own life I run ahead of God. How many times have I taken charge of a problem without waiting for God to tell me what would be best? How many times have I thought I could just solve it on my own?
When we begin adding to God’s advice (as the Israelites did in Judges 20), the next step is likely to be our impatience to wait for or even unwillingness to listen to His answers. And then, it may not be long before what was said of Israel is said of us: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” (vs 25) Let’s not follow in Israel’s footsteps. We know that God has the answers! And because of the record of evidence provided in the Bible, we know that when we seek Him, we will find Him. When we come to Him with a problem, He will provide the solution!