Victory and Defeat Lessons from the Benjamite War Judges 20
Background • The period is one of situation ethics: “every man doing that which is right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:25) • Idolatry was practiced (Judg. 17-18) • Immorality was practiced (Judg. 19) • Indifference was practiced (Judg. 20) • What can we learn from the victory and defeat of the Benjamites?
A Lesson in Pride • The Benjamites were proud and stubborn (20:13) • The Benjamites were over-confident (20:32) • The Benjamites found that pride goes before a fall (Prov. 16:18; 29:1)
A Lesson in Prayer • The Israelites asked the Lord for guidance (20:18,23,27): pray for guidance • The Israelites were drawn closer to the Lord after each defeat (20:18,23,27): pray without ceasing (Lk. 11:5ff; 18:1ff; 1 Thess. 5:17 • The Israelites had to wait for the final outcome (20:28): prayer is not always answered the manner or time we want (Deut. 3:26; 2 Cor. 12:8-9)
A Lesson in Punishment • The Israelites, the Benjamites in particular, were punished for their relativistic morality (17:6; 21:25; 21:15): following what we think is right leads to death (Prov. 14:12; 16:25) • The Israelites brought confusion and civil war upon themselves (Mt. 12:25; 2 Tim. 3:13).
Principles to Ponder • The basis of moral behavior is of critical importance (Heb. 5:14) • Ethical relativism is degrading, dehumanizing and destructive (2 Pet. 2:19) • Theology and morality cannot be separated (Prov. 1) • We must not only know God’s answers, we must internalize his values (1 Cor. 15:33)