chaos April 2 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Judges 17, 18, 19, 20, 21; 1 Chronicles 6:4b-15

Note: April 1 we started the book of Judges, reading 1:1- 3:6. Today we jump forward to Judges 17- 21 before we go back to Judges 3:7- 4:24. We do this because the book of Judges was written thematically but not always chronologically (more…). Our Daily Chronological Bible Study arranges the events of the Bible in their probable (or at least possible) order of occurrence to better our understanding of the Scriptures. Warning to parents or other leaders of children: The material in this Bible study is true to the Scriptures but very graphic and may not be suitable for young children.

Curing Chaos

When there is chaos in our life we become frenzied, and the stress of it can cause us to have major headaches. In such circumstances most of us lose patience, get angry, disillusioned, desire to quit or at least get away. We can take some clues from today's lesson on how to rid chaos from our lives.

According to Judges 17:6, Israel was in chaos because she had no king. In fact, the LORD God who should have been their king was not their king because every man did what was right in his own eyes. What happens when we have no laws and no moral guide that we are following? Chaos. Has this happened in our lives? Were we not following God our king? Had we gotten away from regular times of Bible reading, prayer, worship at church, and gone our own way? Personal chaos is caused when we are not following the disciplined life God intended. If we do follow a disciplined life of obedience to God, we are more likely to succeed and have peace (at least within us).

Judges 17-21 record events in Israel that are appalling to read. Just why they were included in the book of Judges is uncertain, but perhaps they were included to show the depths to which the Israelites had fallen and why God had to allow other nations to oppress and punish them.

At this time a man named Micah from the tribe of Ephraim stole silver from his mother, confessed it and received forgiveness. Then, shockingly, as a reward for his repentance his mother took the silver and hired a silversmith to make idols from it. Then she gave it to her son to worship with it. We may ask, why did she indulge her son in evil behavior that she should have known was wrong? Obviously, though she knew the name of God and even praised him, she did not know God. It had been a whole generation since Joshua and the second generation of elders who were delivered out of Egypt had died. The leaders, priests, and parents failed to share their faith in the holy and all-powerful God of Israel; they failed to share the history of how God delivered them from bondage in Egypt; they failed to share his great miracles in providing for them and protecting them in the wilderness; they failed to share the great victories God gave them; they failed to share the consequences of sin and disobedience; and they failed to instruct their children in the Law of the LORD (Judges 2:10-12). Furthermore, instead of driving out the Canaanites in the land, they adopted their culture and idolatry.

Micah followed his mother's instruction and then installed one of his own sons to be a priest for the family. When a young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah happened to come by his house, Micah enticed him to be his priest for the family. The Levite failed, too; he should have rebuked Micah for his idolatry but instead saw an opportunity for profit. The Levite used Micah's fashioned ephod (a crafted copy of part of the vestment a priest wore) and their families' household gods (borrowed from the nations that were not completely driven out of Israel's new territories), the carved idol and cast idol. The young Levite priest lent himself out to be a priest for this single family until he was later offered a better deal to be a priest, not for just one family but for the whole tribe of Dan. Dan took away Micah's priest and his “gods.” The Levite, whose tribal family was dedicated to the worship of God, did not lead in the worship of the LORD but in idolatry. What about us? Will we as Christian parents or leaders instruct our children or others about God and his ways, or will we let things deteriorate into a state of chaos?

Israel's lack of a moral compass led to deviant and extreme wickedness (remember our warning at the beginning of our Bible study). In Judges 19-21 there is another appalling story of yet another Levite. He had a concubine (a secondary wife), but she was unfaithful to him and left him. When he heard she had returned to her father's house, the Levite went to take her home. After being delayed by his father-in-law for almost a week, he set out with his concubine, though it was soon night and unsafe to travel in their region. He wanted, therefore, to stay in a Gibeah, a Benjamite town in Israel. He thought they would be safe there. Israel should have been a place of peace and safety. Instead, it was a place of idolatry, sexual immorality, and even homosexuality. It was not safe to spend the night in the city square so an old man invited them to his home. The men in Gibeah were not safe. They came to the man's house demanding he bring the Levite out so that they might have homosexual relations with him. The owner of the house tried to make a compromise with these dangerous men to protect his guest. Unbelievably, he offered his own virgin daughter and the Levites' concubine to satisfy their sexual appetites. He then sent out the Levites' concubine (but not his virgin daughter) to do with whatever they wanted. They raped her all night, and she died on the doorstep. The Levite was irate at the extreme wickedness of these people, and so he cut her up into twelve pieces and sent her body parts throughout Israel. The tribes were astounded at such wickedness in Israel (as we are). When they inquired about the matter, they asked that the guilty men be turned over to them, but the tribe of Benjamin defended them. After two very costly attempts to defeat Benjamin in a civil war of retribution, finally the LORD gave them victory. The victory, however, cost them the lives of 38,000 Israelites and over 25,000 of their Benjamite brothers and their families. They lost a lot of valiant warriors. Perhaps it was this chaos, idolatry, and immorality that caused God to exercise judgment on his people. It took oppression by their enemies to finally prompt Israel to repent and cry out to God for a deliverer.

Will we listen or must we be punished? Chaos and sin in families can sometimes cause division and almost irreparable damage. If we do not wish chaos and sin to devastate us or our families, we need to learn to live in the fear of the LORD. That means we are to live to please the LORD, and to reject the sinful ways of the world. Do you know him? He can give you forgiveness, peace, and spiritual life (more...).

Lessons to live by:

•  Personal chaos is caused when we are not following the disciplined life God intended. If we do follow a disciplined life of obedience to God we are more likely to succeed and have peace (at least within us).

•  Parents should not indulge their children (of whatever age) in sinful behavior. They should teach them to fear the LORD and walk in his ways.

•  Christian leaders and parents must instruct children in who God is, what he has done, and what God requires of us so that our families and our society do not deteriorate into a state of chaos.

•  If we do not wish chaos and sin to devastate us or our families, we need to learn to live in the fear of the LORD. That means we are to live to please the LORD and to reject the sinful ways of the world.

Today's Bible memory verses:

Hebrews 12:10-11 “Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” (NIV)

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