Summary: DISREGARDING THE LESSONS OF GOD’S DELIVERANCE STORY WILL NOT BE FOREVER IGNORED
The Fate of Unruled Lives -- The Final Lesson of the Judges.
A true story about Frank Abagnale Jr. who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor.
Eventually he was caught in France in 1969 when an Air France attendant recognized his face from a wanted poster. When the French police apprehended him, 12 of the countries in which he had committed fraud wanted to extradite him. After a two-day trial, he first served prison time in Perpignan’s House of Arrest in France--a one-year sentence that was reduced by the presiding judge at his trial to six months. His stay in Perpignan left him fearful of spending more time in another version of the prison.
He was then extradited to Sweden where he was treated fairly well under Swedish law. During trial for forgery, his defense attorney almost had his case dismissed by arguing that he had "created" the fake checks and not forged them, but his charges were instead reduced to swindling and fraud. He served six months in a Malmö prison, only to learn at the end of it he would be tried next in Italy. Later, a Swedish judge asked a U.S. State Department official to revoke his passport. Without a valid passport Swedish authorities were legally compelled to deport him to the U.S., where he was sentenced to 12 years in a federal prison for multiple counts of forgery.
DISREGARDING THE LESSONS OF GOD’S DELIVERANCE STORY WILL NOT BE FOREVER IGNORED.
I. The Last Story
A. Though unruled lives may prevail for a time, God’s judgment cannot be forever escaped. 20:1-18
1. Immoral Acts Decried
20:1 Then all the Israelites from Dan to Beersheba and from the land of Gilead came out as one man and assembled before the LORD in Mizpah. 2 The leaders of all the people of the tribes of Israel took their places in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand soldiers armed with swords. 3(The Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah.) Then the Israelites said, "Tell us how this awful thing happened."
4 So the Levite, the husband of the murdered woman, said, "I and my concubine came to Gibeah in Benjamin to spend the night. 5 During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house, intending to kill me. They raped my concubine, and she died. 6 I took my concubine, cut her into pieces and sent one piece to each region of Israel’s inheritance, because they committed this lewd and disgraceful act in Israel. 7 Now, all you Israelites, speak up and give your verdict."
2. Verdict passed
8 All the people rose as one man, saying, "None of us will go home. No, not one of us will return to his house. 9 But now this is what we’ll do to Gibeah: We’ll go up against it as the lot directs. 10 We’ll take ten men out of every hundred from all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred from a thousand, and a thousand from ten thousand, to get provisions for the army. Then, when the army arrives at Gibeah in Benjamin, it can give them what they deserve for all this vileness done in Israel." 11 So all the men of Israel got together and united as one man against the city.
3. Hardness of Heart
12 The tribes of Israel sent men throughout the tribe of Benjamin, saying, "What about this awful crime that was committed among you? 13 Now surrender those wicked men of Gibeah so that we may put them to death and purge the evil from Israel."
But the Benjamites would not listen to their fellow Israelites. 14 From their towns they came together at Gibeah to fight against the Israelites. 15 At once the Benjamites mobilized twenty-six thousand swordsmen from their towns, in addition to seven hundred chosen men from those living in Gibeah. 16 Among all these soldiers there were seven hundred chosen men who were left-handed, each of whom could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.
17 Israel, apart from Benjamin, mustered four hundred thousand swordsmen, all of them fighting men.
18 The Israelites went up to Bethel and inquired of God. They said, "Who of us shall go first to fight against the Benjamites?"
The LORD replied, "Judah shall go first."
B. The longer God’s rule is resisted the more devastating the final reckoning 20:19-48
1. Battle for Rightousness
19 The next morning the Israelites got up and pitched camp near Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel went out to fight the Benjamites and took up battle positions against them at Gibeah. (round one) 21 The Benjamites came out of Gibeah and cut down twenty-two thousand Israelites on the battlefield that day. 22 But the men of Israel encouraged one another and again took up their positions where they had stationed themselves the first day. 23 The Israelites went up and wept before the LORD until evening, and they inquired of the LORD. They said, "Shall we go up again to battle against the Benjamites, our brothers?"