Summary: Even when we are right, we many times do things the wrong way, not God’s way.
Doing the Right Thing the Right Way
Scripture Text: Judges 20
Why is it when we do the right thing that many times it is not the right way? Today’s lesson deals with this issue as well as how to do it the right way and not take so many times to learn it. Of course, we as humans do have the tendency to not learn from our mistakes and in our relationship with the Lord; many times we do the same. We tend to commit the same faults (sins) over and over again. Let us see how the children of Israel tried to do the right thing but they went about the wrong way.
Let us first set up this chapter with the previous chapter (some of it is mentioned in verses 1-6). Murder and rape had happened to a Levite’s (priest) concubine. Because of the horror, he cut up her body into 12 pieces and sent 1 piece to each tribe of Israel. Let us read verse 30 of chapter 19. Note that no such DEED done or SEEN since they had left Egypt. This was the epitome of evil.
Now the children of Israel before they go up to the children of Benjamin because of the Levite’s speech, verse 8 says they AROSE as ONE MAN. They began to plot and plan how they were going to go up and take of the RIGHT THING but they were doing it the WRONG way! The men of Israel gathered, KNIT together as ONE MAN. Note they arose and knit together as ONE MAN. Their intentions were focused on one mind, one accord, and unity.
Then they went to the children of Benjamin and asked them to deliver to them the children of Belial (Satan) (2 Corinthians 6:15). SATAN was in the midst of the children of ISRAEL!! But the children of Israel would not hearken but instead gathered themselves to battle. The lines are drawn – evil on one side, good on the other. The children of Benjamin were only 26,000 men whereas the children of Israel had 400,000 men (outnumbered over 15 to 1). That is pretty good odds, right?
They arose and went to the house of God and asked counsel of God, but they were already DETERMINED what they were going to do – that is, go to battle with their brethren. Note how they phrased the question – Which of us shall GO UP FIRST to the battle? Sometimes God lets us have a supposed “yes” answer (permissive will) because we are determined to do it anyway (especially when we think we are doing right). Because of their actions, they lost 22,000 men that day. Uh oh.
So they regroup, right? First they ENCOURAGED themselves, yep we are doing the right thing but they were doing it in the WRONG WAY – in the flesh! Yes and this time it says this – they went up and WEPT before the LORD until even and asked counsel and the LORD said, “Go up” but He doesn’t say they will be victorious. See, this is what we have to wait for – the VICTORY! If we wait patiently on the LORD, He will give us the RIGHT WAY!!
This time however, the children of Israel lost 18,000 men (by the way the LORD removed 10% of the men – 22,000 plus 18,000 equals 40,000 – 1/10th of 400,000). But finally and I mean finally, the children of Israel do something different this time. Go with me to verse 26.
It now says that ALL (not like before) the children of Israel and ALL the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept (we saw this before) and SAT (waited upon) before the LORD, and FASTED until even and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. And this time they ENQUIRED (this is a petition not of ourselves) of the LORD and they consulted the priest (JESUS) only this time they petitioned not in the flesh but in the right way – “shall I yet AGAIN go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother or shall I CEASE?” It comes to this – is it YOUR will or mine?
This time though the LORD says, “GO UP; for tomorrow I WILL DELIVER them into thy hand.”
See, it took them 3 times to get it right and if they had done what they did in verses 26-28 and asked with the CORRECT HEART, they would not have gone through the grief they did.
Of course the LORD did something wonderful – the children of Benjamin thought they were going to defeat the children of Israel again like they had before – but GOD changed the strategy for the children of ISRAEL. See, the enemy (Satan) thinks, ok, I’ve got him or her again – but if we ENQUIRE correctly, offering ourselves and denying the flesh (crucifying), GOD will use a different STRATEGY to defeat the enemy. They only killed about 30 men this time and then in verse 41, they were terrified because they saw that evil (disaster) had come upon them. This time, the children of Benjamin lost 25,000 men (almost all - remember they only had 28,000 to start out with) and God gave the children of Israel VICTORY! Not in their own strength, but in HIS!