Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When It Fits God's Plan, You Will Be Attacked, Too

The Minor Prophets Speak to Today 


Hosea 10:9-10 NLT

The Lord says, “O Israel, ever since Gibeah,
    there has been only sin and more sin!
You have made no progress whatsoever.
    Was it not right that the wicked men of Gibeah were attacked?
Now whenever it fits my plan,
    I will attack you, too.
I will call out the armies of the nations
    to punish you for your multiplied sins.

Why are the Muslims so agitated? God himself will destroy the countries they call the Great Satan. He will do it himself, in his time. Don't get ahead of God. Don't play God. And remember, when you do not listen to and obey God, when it fits his plan, he will attack you, too. It is an awesome thing to call oneself the people of God. The Old Testament prophets are not to be ignored.

Have You Forgotten Gibeah?

Perhaps you have never read the story. Here is its beginning:

Judges 19:1 (NLT)Now in those days Israel had no king. There was a man from the tribe of Levi living in a remote area of the hill country of Ephraim. One day he brought home a woman from Bethlehem in Judah to be his concubine. But she became angry with him and returned to her father’s home in Bethlehem.
After about four months, her husband set out for Bethlehem to speak personally to her and persuade her to come back. He took with him a servant and a pair of donkeys. When he arrived at her father’s house, her father saw him and welcomed him. Her father urged him to stay awhile, so he stayed three days, eating, drinking, and sleeping there.
On the fourth day the man was up early, ready to leave, but the woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Have something to eat before you go.” So the two men sat down together and had something to eat and drink. Then the woman’s father said, “Please stay another night and enjoy yourself.” The man got up to leave, but his father-in-law kept urging him to stay, so he finally gave in and stayed the night.
On the morning of the fifth day he was up early again, ready to leave, and again the woman’s father said, “Have something to eat; then you can leave later this afternoon.” So they had another day of feasting. Later, as the man and his concubine and servant were preparing to leave, his father-in-law said, “Look, it’s almost evening. Stay the night and enjoy yourself. Tomorrow you can get up early and be on your way.”
10 But this time the man was determined to leave. So he took his two saddled donkeys and his concubine and headed in the direction of Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). 11 It was late in the day when they neared Jebus, and the man’s servant said to him, “Let’s stop at this Jebusite town and spend the night there.”
12 “No,” his master said, “we can’t stay in this foreign town where there are no Israelites. Instead, we will go on to Gibeah. 13 Come on, let’s try to get as far as Gibeah or Ramah, and we’ll spend the night in one of those towns.” 14 So they went on. The sun was setting as they came to Gibeah, a town in the land of Benjamin, 15 so they stopped there to spend the night. They rested in the town square, but no one took them in for the night.
16 That evening an old man came home from his work in the fields. He was from the hill country of Ephraim, but he was living in Gibeah, where the people were from the tribe of Benjamin. 17 When he saw the travelers sitting in the town square, he asked them where they were from and where they were going.
18 “We have been in Bethlehem in Judah,” the man replied. “We are on our way to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim, which is my home. I traveled to Bethlehem, and now I’m returning home. But no one has taken us in for the night, 19 even though we have everything we need. We have straw and feed for our donkeys and plenty of bread and wine for ourselves.”
20 “You are welcome to stay with me,” the old man said. “I will give you anything you might need. But whatever you do, don’t spend the night in the square.” 21 So he took them home with him and fed the donkeys. After they washed their feet, they ate and drank together.
22 While they were enjoying themselves, a crowd of troublemakers from the town surrounded the house. They began beating at the door and shouting to the old man, “Bring out the man who is staying with you so we can have sex with him.”
23 The old man stepped outside to talk to them. “No, my brothers, don’t do such an evil thing. For this man is a guest in my house, and such a thing would be shameful.24 Here, take my virgin daughter and this man’s concubine. I will bring them out to you, and you can abuse them and do whatever you like. But don’t do such a shameful thing to this man.”
25 But they wouldn’t listen to him. So the Levite took hold of his concubine and pushed her out the door. The men of the town abused her all night, taking turns raping her until morning. Finally, at dawn they let her go. 26 At daybreak the woman returned to the house where her husband was staying. She collapsed at the door of the house and lay there until it was light.
27 When her husband opened the door to leave, there lay his concubine with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said, “Get up! Let’s go!” But there was no answer. So he put her body on his donkey and took her home.
29 When he got home, he took a knife and cut his concubine’s body into twelve pieces. Then he sent one piece to each tribe throughout all the territory of Israel.
30 Everyone who saw it said, “Such a horrible crime has not been committed in all the time since Israel left Egypt. Think about it! What are we going to do? Who’s going to speak up?”
20:11 So all the Israelites were completely united, and they gathered together to attack the town…. 46 So that day the tribe of Benjamin lost 25,000 strong warriors armed with swords,47 leaving only 600 men who escaped to the rock of Rimmon, where they lived for four months. 48 And the Israelites returned and slaughtered every living thing in all the towns—the people, the livestock, and everything they found. They also burned down all the towns they came to.

How Did These Three Tragedies Happen?

In the full story, three terrible tragedies happen: The demand to have sex with the man followed by the gang rape and death of the concubine; the slaughter of all but 600 people from the tribe of Benjamin; the capture, with the nation's consent, of 600 innocent women to be forced brides of the 600 men. It takes three chapters to tell the full story -- Judges 19, 20, and 21.

The the final verse of these three chapters sets the context for this terrible tragedy and God's decreed punishment.

Judges 21:25 -- all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

Through the prophet Hosea, God states when such an attack will  happen again -- happen to the very people who call themselves the Children of God:

   There has been only sin and more sin!

You have made no progress whatsoever.

    Was it not right that the wicked men of Gibeah were attacked?
Now whenever it fits my plan,
    I will attack you, too.
I will call out the armies of the nations
    to punish you for your multiplied sins.

It does not matter which people call themselves the children of God -- Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindu, whoever.

When there has been only sin and more sin...
When you have made no progress whatsoever...
When it fits God's plan...
God will call out the armies of the nations
To punish you for your multiple sins.

Before you look at the other people groups or religions and rejoice that it will be them, STOP!
Look hard at the people who carry the same name as you!
God, even in his grace, will not tolerate your multiple sins!

Photo Credits:
Rolling Green Hills by Sylvan Mably some rights reserved

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