On a weekly basis, I get together with several other men from my church, and we read the passage from the daily He Reads Truth study. We try to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us in His Word. Usually, we have a pretty vibrant discussion and reflection time together. However, after reading today’s passage, I am confident we will sit in silence for a while. And we should.
The horror of Judges 19 should stop our mouths and quiet our hearts. This chapter should make us angry. It should prompt outrage within us at the level of depravity and injustice that takes place. This passage should boil our blood at the treatment of women as property to be bartered, used, and discarded on a whim. Judges 19 should enrage us at the way a servant of the temple (the Levite) disregards God’s ways in order to please himself and then plays the victim as if he were the one most deeply sinned against. We need passages like this to get our blood hot with indignation against rampant evil and wickedness.
The question is, what will we do with our righteous anger? As depraved and backward as this chapter is, injustice and corruption like this still exist in our world. Women are still used, abused, and discarded by men as if they were merely property. Church leaders act like they are the ones wronged when they are exposed for their indifference and pride. We may be tempted to take matters into our own hands and get vigilante justice. Alternatively, we may become indifferent to the needs of those who are hurting and compound the injustice against them with our own passivity. What will be done to uphold true justice in this world?
For generations, Christians have wrestled with these questions as we seek to live as people of faith and action in the world. Thankfully, Jesus shows us how to be full of mercy toward those downtrodden and broken while bringing truth to the powers that create systems of injustice. He brought truth to power by His righteous life and calls us to seek justice in His name. He was murdered unjustly because of our sin and rebellion. He was raised to life again and will bring full and final justice for all people when He returns (2Timothy 4:1).
We should be broken over the brokenness within this world, within the church, and within ourselves (Jeremiah 8:21). Indeed, Judges 19 calls us to weep over sin. And, as He weeps with us, Jesus calls us to trust Him for the forgiveness of our sin.