Meanderings of a Minister

Decisions Can Have Lasting Implications
March 30, 2011, 1:36 am
Filed under: Articles

There is a story that takes up the last part of the book of Judges.  This is not probably a story that you studied in Sunday School as it is pretty graphic in nature.  It is not a story you have probably studied in Church as it has some difficult subjects to consider.  It is a story; nevertheless, that God has included and preserved in His word, so it bears considering.  But, what do we learn from this story?  I am glad you asked.

Allow me to hit the highlights (or lowlights) of the story in order for us to understand what we can learn.  A Levite staying in the remote part of the hill county of Ephraim took a concubine for himself from Bethlehem in Judah.  After a while, the concubine ran away and went back home to her father’s house.  The Levite went to get her and, after talking her into returning, prepared to return home.  His father-in-law talked him into staying for three days of feasting and drinking.  On the fourth day, the Levite tried to leave, but was talked into staying another night.  On the fifth day, after giving in for most of the day, the Levite, his servant and his concubine started for home.

Later on that night, the man had passed through Jebus (which later would be conquered and renamed Jerusalem) and decided to spend the night at Gibeah in the territory given to Benjamin.  After waiting in the town square for someone to take him into their home for the night, finally, a man arrived and was very concerned that the man was going to spend the night in the square, so he took him home.

After they had settled in for the evening, some of the men of city surrounded the house in which the Levite was staying and demanded that the owner send the man out in order that the men of the city could have sex with him.  He man, and the Levite, bargained their way out of it by sending the Levite’s concubine outside instead.  The men of the city raped and abused her all night until she died early in the morning.

The Levite, intending to return home, found her dead and took her home on his donkey, where he cut her into 12 pieces and sent a part to each of the tribes of Israel to tell them of the horrendous behavior of the men of Gibeah.  The nation gathered for war and , after a few days of fighting, in which over 70,000 men lost their lives, nearly the entire tribe of Benjamin was wiped out. Feeling sorry for wiping them out, the men of Israel concocted a plan whereby they kidnapped women and gave them to the Benjaminites as wives to keep their tribe name going.

Whew!  If you are still reading, you are ready for the lesson, no doubt.  It is simply this.  The Levite was supposed to be a man of God.  He was of the tribe of Levi and was given the designation of serving God through care for the temple and leading in worship.  God had warned the people against multiple wives, but he decided to get another woman with whom to have intimate relations, other than his wife.  What did that one decision cost him?  The girl’s life.  Over 70,000 dead Israelites, the breaking up of hundreds of families and a black mark on the Name of God.  A single decision led to lasting ramifications.

If you are a Christian, your decisions can have incredible ramifications as well.  You might think it no big deal to have a drink at an office party, but you have no idea how that decision can affect others.  You might think it is innocent fun to flirt with the new guy a the water cooler, but have no idea where that encounter might lead.  You might think, “But I am not hurting anyone.”  You don’t know that because you do not understand the full impact that your decisions might have on someone else.  The Levite man may have thought that everyone else was doing it, but that did not make it right or lessen the impact.

The next time you are presented with a chance to sin, ask yourself what effect this might have on others.  As a matter of fact, it might not even seem like sin, but if it affects others, you might want to reconsider.


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