Tag Archive | Bible

The Concubine

At the time of Judges 19, the Bible says there was no king in Israel.

A Levite man lived in the remote mountains of Ephraim. He took a concubine from Bethlehem, but she played the harlot and went back to her father’s house, where she stayed four months. Then the man went to get her from her father’s house and spoke kindly to her. Her father begged him to stay to eat and drink for several days. Finally he decided to leave, even though the hour was late. His servant suggested they stay in Jebus (Jerusalem, but he wanted to stay in Gilead because it was a Jewish city. He probably thought it would be safer.

No one offered him lodging. Finally an old man came from his work and let them stay with him. Perverted men of the city begged the master of the house to let the man and his servant come out. They planned to abuse them carnally. The master of the house gave them his virgin daughter and the man’s wife (concubine) instead. The men had their way and left the concubine lying on the doorstep in the morning, dead. The man put her on a donkey and went home. Then he cut her body into twelve and sent a piece to all the tribes of Israel, saying, “Nothing like this has been known in Israel.”

Chapter 20 describes how all the children of Israel came out from Dan to Beersheba and beyond. They asked how the wicked thing happened. The Levite explained how the men wanted to abuse him, but the master of the house sent out the concubine and the men left her for dead. This led to a great battle against the tribe of Benjamin. At first the tribe of Benjamin was winning, but God gave the other tribes victory when the tribe of Benjamin turned and saw their city burning.

The men of Israel grieved for the tribe of Benjamin, because the Lord had made a void in the tribe of Benjamin. They had made an oath at Mizpah saying none of them would take a bride from Benjamin’s tribe. Then they wondered what their brothers would do if they had no wives. They realized no one came to battle from Jabesh Gilead, so they sent valiant men to Jabesh Gilead to kill all men, women, and children. They utterly destroyed every man and every woman who had known a man intimately. They found four hundred virgins and brought them to Shiloh. They needed more, so they remembered there would be a feast of the Lord in Shiloh. When the women went out to dance, every man came out of the vineyards and catch a woman and made her his wife. The children of Benjamin had found wives for themselves and they all went back to their homes.

My thoughts on the story of the concubine: It surprises me that in this story about a young woman who had been terribly abused, she never had a name or said a word. We don’t know why she played the harlot or went back to her father’s home, but I wonder if her master had mistreated her. It appears so, since he decided to speak kindly to get her back. Then he allowed the master of the house to sent her out to be abused by the evil men of the city. They tortured and murdered her with no regret.

I don’t understand why it was worse in the Old Testament when evil people man abused than a woman. It seems it would be worse for a woman since she might become pregnant.

The concubine could not help herself. Her husband refused to protect her. He ignored her plight. The pain for her loss belonged to the Levite, but I saw no regrets, just anger. I don’t see any love lost for this poor woman.

The Israelites treated the people of Jabesh Gilead horribly. The way they caught the women of Shiloh disgusted me.

Even though the situation caused war and great loss of life between brothers, in the end they worked together and grieved for the children of Benjamin. The men worked out their differences, but the women had no say.

“In those days there was no king in Israel: everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

Please give me your ideas about this story. How are things different for women now?

Does everyone do what’s right in their eyes? Are we any better off as women than the women in this story?

Please keep the conversation going.

How Much Time Do You Really Have?

Can the end of time be near? I am not a scientist or a prophet, but I read the Bible and books on prophesy. I heard that during both World Wars people expected Jesus to return at any moment. I would have thought so, too, if I knew the Nazis murdered eleven million Jews. Do you understand how significant that event became? Many times through-out history, Jewish people have been the target of hate and murder, but they still exist. What does that tell you? It tells me God loves them, and even though most didn’t accept His Son, He still loves them and has a plan for them. That’s the kind of God He is. He is a God of love.

Why do I believe the end is coming soon? If global warming is true, then why has Boston had record-breaking snowfalls? Is that global warming? Maybe it is. Maybe the weather changes are part of the birth pangs recorded in the Bible. Why have there been many more storms through-out the world lately. What about the increase in earthquakes and floods? Why have mountains blown their tops, so to speak. Birth pangs? A thought worth considering. A century ago people rarely traveled more that about fifty miles from their homes. Now a trip across the world takes less time than it might have taken our ancestors to travel fifty miles. Birth pangs of the end of time as we know it? It could be. At least think about it. Consider the present times and then consider what the Bible says:

Jesus said in Matthew 24, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pangs.

“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time, many will turn against the faith and betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of many will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to the nations, and then the end will come…For then there will be great distress unequaled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened….

“At that time the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the earth to the other.”

I believe Jesus Christ came to earth in the body of a man and the spirit of God. As promised throughout the Old Testament, Jesus signified the perfect Lamb, the only one who could sacrifice for the sins of believers. If a friend gave you a gift card for your favorite restaurant, wouldn’t you spend it? The death of Jesus became your gift card for eternal life. You can accept that truth, ask his forgiveness, and join his spiritual family or you can choose not to. For your sake, I ask that you read the Gospel of John so you will understand the truth. You can’t work your way to heaven. If you could, Jesus would not have been sacrificed on the cross. Your faith in his gift saves you, not works.

Is this true? Will you be ready? Are you willing to take the risk? What stops you?

If this blog has brought you closer to a decision to become a member of God’s family or if you have any questions, please comment.

I Finally “God” It. You Can, Too

I  accepted Jesus when I was twelve years old, but I didn’t understand what He did for me. In my forties I finally understood the words “grace” and “mercy.” I wonder how many people who have been in church all their lives without seeing the whole picture.Let’s start with creation. Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, Satan, and sinned by disobeying God’s command not to eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 2:16-17, NKJ). They sewed together fig leaves to cover their shameful nakedness. People today still keep trying to solve their problems without God. God killed an animal to make the skins to cover them(Genesis 3:6-7, NKJ), so He had to shed the blood of the animals. God told the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed, He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”  This was a prophesy. The seed of woman is Jesus, the Son of God. When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, he set up the sacrificial system using the blood of unblemished animals instead of  people to satisfy God’s requirement for justice. This points us to Jesus.

When Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his death, I believe He felt the shame of the sins of the  entire world. Can you imagine how emotionally painful that must have been? The next day the soldiers pierced Him with a sword, whipped Him, and nailed Him to a cross until He died.  His blood, the blood of the only perfect One, was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. “Without shedding of blood there is no remission.”   (Hebrews 9:22b NKJ) But Jesus did not stay dead. He rose and many people saw Him alive. For those who accept the gift of His forgiveness, He gives us grace, a gift we sinners do not deserve,  and He gives us mercy instead of the eternal punishment we do deserve. He died for us because He loves us enough to pay for our sins. (John 3:16 NJV)Have you told God you believe this? Have you asked Him to forgive you of your sin sand make you His child? If not, now could be the time. Talk to God and tell Him you are sorry for your sins and believe Jesus died for you and will forgive you and make you His child.

You can pray right now to become a member of God’s family.

 

Finding Hope in the Heat

On July 30, blessings came to the City of Memphis, TennesseeConvoy of  Hope rolled their trucks into town and residents of this city known for crime, poverty, and racial strife joined together to feed and pray for the hurting. While the thermostat read 102 degrees, fourteen hundred volunteers representing eighty different churches swooped down on the practically abandoned fairgrounds to hand out food and hope to more than five thousand people. No one saw color or class. No one judged others by their clothes. Everyone just shared the love.

                                                                       

Volunteers arrived early in the morning to set up tents for the different activities. Children enjoyed games, puppet shows, and jumping toys; such as such as blow-up slides and moon walks. Families received bags of groceries while volunteers gave free haircuts and created family portraits. Prayer warriors sent prayer requests to heaven. A job fair and health fair gave hope of a better day to participants.

The workers in the community services tent told families about places in town where they can receive help in their areas of need. I worked in that tent but with  a different slant. We showed church members ways their churches can help children and adults through small issue-focused Bible study groups and we invited familes to participate in these groups at our church.

Let me tell you about Living Free’s children’s ministry and how it can help families. Many of those attending were single-parents or grandmothers raising children. They wanted to learn about Growing Seasons, small group Bible studies that help single-parent children; whether due to divorce, death, imprisonment, or abandonment by a parent. They also teach parents how to listen and respond to their children’s feelings.

Others wanted to know how to prepare their preteen children for the peer pressure of adolescence. We told them about Empowering Kids for Life, a program that helps kids turn to God instead of addictions. I encourage you to go to LivingFree.org yourself and see how their small group Bible study ministry is helping adults and children. Maybe your church would like to include some Living Free groups along with your other programs.

I want to thank Convoy of Hope for visiting Memphis. I hope the love and understanding shared in this city yesterday will last and grow. I also hope God will answer the sincere prayers lifted up for families. Thanks you Convoy of Hope.