Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time to Take Action





Scripture

But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them; and they raped her and abused her all night until morning, then let her go at the approach of dawn.
(Judges 19:25 NASB)
As the day began to dawn, the woman came and fell down at the doorway of the man’s house where her master was, until full daylight.
(Judges 19:26 NASB)
All who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever happened or been seen from the day when the sons of Israel came up from the land of Egypt to this day. Consider it, take counsel and speak up!”
(Judges 19:30 NASB)
“And I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel’s inheritance; for they have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel.
(Judges 20:6 NASB)
Then all the people arose as one man, saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house.
(Judges 20:8 NASB)
“But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up against it by lot.
(Judges 20:9 NASB)
Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.
(Judges 20:11 NASB)
but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
(2 Corinthians 4:2 NASB)

 

Observation


It's holy week -- a week when Jesus took action! He knew that it was time to step into the very timeline of history, for events to occur, which would change the world forever. There are times when we are also called to action -- when the atrocities of this world are so great that we can no longer look on from the outside, but we must decide to take action!

A man was traveling with his concubine -- his wife -- when they stayed overnight at a Benjamite village. This man was a fellow Israelite and as was the custom he should have been invited into someones home and protected. However, the people of the town did not invite him home, but left him out in the city square until finally one last man, on his way home from work, took this man and his wife home with him. The men of the city, certainly not following the laws of God, came to the house at night and asked for the visitor. They wanted him! The host refused but finally, in an effort to make the men be quiet, he sent out the concubine. The men raped her all night long and then left her for dead at the entry of the house. Her husband was so angered by the behavior of his "brothers" that when he got home, he cut her body into pieces and had her delivered to every other tribe of Israel.
The remaining tribes got together and decided that enough was enough! This type of behavior could not be tolerated among the Israelites and so they took action and punished the Benjamites. They stood up and said that they would not allow this type of terrible behavior to occur in Israel!

Paul, in this second letter to Corinthians, says that we renounce the hidden things. Just as the children of Israel could not tolerate this kind of behavior within their community, so also, followers of Christ are to renounce the evils of this world which we encounter.

 

Application


I am still haunted by a scene which we saw repeatedly in Moscow in the late 1990's. I will never forget the first time I noticed something unusual was happening along the highway leading to the major international airport in Moscow. A handful of beautiful young girls were standing beside the road. There were maybe a half dozen or so -- but I wondered what in the world they were doing there, all lined up in a row. It didn't take me long to find out that this was become a human meat market, for every time we returned to the airport the line became longer and longer. Finally there was a point where there would probably be one hundred young girls lining each side of the highway. Buses were provided behind the line of girls so that men could take them right away and "enjoy" their time with them. This went on for months as the authorities turned their backs (or probably opened their palms) to what was going on.

We may be appalled by this story in the Old Testament. How in the world could civilized people behave in this way? We would like to believe that we have moved far beyond that type of behavior today but sadly, we have not! Human rights abuses continue to be a major issue around the world. The abuse of women continues at an alarming rate. The story of these young women in Russia is repeated throughout Eastern Europe and Asia. Their documents are "taken" from them by those "handling" them and they become slaves to the "owners." Often these girls are kidnapped or lured away with the promise of "modeling" jobs. Their parents never hear from these girls ever again. Most of them are used until, just like the concubine, they are left to die.

I am still haunted by the faces of the girls in Moscow. But I believe that there is time that we must take action. The Israelites took action against their brothers, the Benjamites. Jesus took action when he entered Jerusalem that holy week. Paul calls us to renounce the hidden things. We, as Christ's followers, cannot sit by idly and allow this type of sin and evil to continue in our world. What will we do? What will be our call to action?

 

Prayer

Lord, please he me not to sit by silently as people around me, or around the world, are being used and abused. Please, help me to know how to take action! Amen.

No comments:

Post a Comment