[205 words]

“And the people of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until the evening. And they inquired of the Lord, ‘Shall we again draw near to fight against our brothers, the people of Benjamin?’ And the Lord said, ‘Go up against them’” (Judges 20:23).

It had come to this. When God’s people had first entered the Promised Land with Joshua so many years before, they were God’s instrument for justice against the pagan nations about whom His longsuffering had run out. The Israelites shrank back from obeying God and eventually blended in with the cultures around them until they were indistinguishable and the Sodom-like scenario of the previous chapter occurred. Thus, the corrupt-but-slightly-better eleven tribes went to war against the worst one. After just one day, the losses were staggering, but God, who had promised Abraham that his descendants would number like the stars and sand, in His justice had them fight a second and then third day. Sin has devastating consequences, and God is constantly refining His people as silver through the fire. Not all Israel is Israel, and not all the Lord’s church is His church. If you compromise with our culture, will you withstand God’s refining?

Doug Kashorek
Plattsburgh church of Christ
Plattsburgh, NY

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