About a month ago, I invited all of our staff wives to lunch in order to discuss an upcoming Ladies Weekend we are hosting. We talked, laughed, ate way too much, and planned our retreat. During the course of the conversation, the subject of teen girls’ issues was brought up. My heart began to break for young ladies who are desperately trying to find out who they are.
Our youth pastor’s wife shared some insight of the struggles of young ladies in our local church. She wasn’t talking about girls from the streets or New York City, or Harlem…. She was talking about beautiful young girls right here in our little suburbia.
I have talked to women who have lived lives of abuse, negligence, and suffocating bondage that tears my heart out. But these stories are not new to our society. They are not new to the church, and they certainly are not new to God.
We are reading through the Bible this year as a family. And thanks to our dear generous friends, we have the Bible on DVD – It shows the words as it is read aloud with feeling and some sound affects! (Thanks Roy and Mindy!)
Last night we were finishing up Judges. (We are just a little behind on the yearly schedule.) We came to Judges 19 and I could not believe I had missed this chapter before!
Hollywood screenwriters take heed. Here is a screen play that will jump off the page at you. Love. Love gone wrong. The separation. Getting in-laws in the mix. The reunion. Then the unraveling of all that is right. Brutal abuse and murder. Civil War.
If you have the time, I encourage you to stop in the middle of this blog and read Judges 19 NIV .
Being the “treasure seeker” I am, I started digging this morning in commentaries, original Hebrew, etc, etc. – just to get a better feel of what happened in this story.
What I dug up is this: Although the word “hnz”, (http://studylight.org/desk/view.cgi?number=02181) means to commit fornication, etc (the KJV uses the word “whore”) the literal translation for this verse is “unfaithful” – the word the NIV uses. (See Adam Clarke commentary - http://studylight.org/com/acc/view.cgi?book=jud&chapter=019&verse=002#Jud19_1 ).
Okay, before I lose you in the technical stuff this nerd loves, let me keep going.
Even if she HAD committed adultery, the atrocity that follows was inexcusable in God’s book. Nowhere in the Law did He condone the behavior of this husband – or of the wicked Gibeahites. (Is that a word?)
If you read the chapter you see that in order to save his own skin from some sodomizing Benjamites, he forces (the actual meaning of the word “sent”) his concubine outside where she is brutally raped, molested and abused. When these vile men are through with her, she crawls to the threshold of the house where her sorry husband is, and dies.
He wakes up the next morning. Okay – I’m getting going now! He slept? He threw his wife out to a bunch of beasts, and he slept???? He says to her, “Get up. Let’s go.” When she doesn’t wake up, he puts her lifeless body on the donkey and heads for home.
There are so many Bible lessons from this story that I have to just contain myself. There is the pleading of the father for them to stay one more night. The fact that she knew she could run to her father. The wisdom of the servant in wanting to stay in a different city- and I could go on, but….
But the point I want to make is this. We never see her name. But she was a woman who had feelings, had dreams, had hopes, and no doubt wanted to be the princess to some prince, just like each of us! She, instead, was treated as trash and disposable.
What must have been going through her mind and heart when her “husband” forced her outside to the sex crazed maniacs? Was she longing to be back in her father’s house? Was she wishing that whatever unfaithfulness she had done in verse 2 had never happened? Was she shocked that the man who was supposed to protect her threw her out? How terrified was she?
If we are totally honest, one thought that runs through our mind is, “Why did God allow that to happen?” I don’t even want to go there, but I do know that my God is just and faithful and good and merciful. There are a lot of horrible things that evil mankind has done throughout the centuries. There are times that our omnipotent creator steps in to intervene in the awful deeds of sinful man, and there are times that our sovereign God chooses to let man do his despicable acts. God is sovereign.
What I do know is that God cared. He cared for the life of that young woman. He cared that her life was tragic. He cared and was full of compassion for her abuse and brutal murder.
What happened next just irritates the living daylights out of me! Her husband, who threw her out there to the men, gets upset – NOW! Now! Ya think! OOOF! Anyway, he is so wronged that he cuts up the poor girl into 12 pieces and sends her mutilated body to the 12 tribes of Israel so they can help him avenge the wrong of the Benjamites.
A violent and bloody civil war follows. It seems it is forgotten that a young lady, a valuable life, was violated, abused, and murdered. Men are killing their brothers- because a man was wronged.
I guess if you look at Judges 21:25, “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit,” it is no wonder the people were so evil and vile.
But back to today.
You may feel like the lady in Judges 19- worthless and disposable. I want you to know that you are beautiful, special, and valuable!
Read Isaiah 61 in the NIV
Jesus came to heal the broken hearted!
He came to set the captive free!
He gives you beauty for ashes and the oil of gladness instead of a spirit of despair!
There is hope and joy waiting for you in your life! Just call out to Jesus and He will answer! You don’t have to feel as if you are thrown out to the vile beasts any longer. You may be nameless to us and you may be abused, but Jesus is calling you. He knows your Name. He knows who you are and wants to restore you to your rightful place as Princess!
(If you need help, I would like to recommend a powerful word based and totally secure ministry- http://www.committedtofreedom.org. I highly recommend their retreats.)
I love you all and Jesus knows your name!