“And the children of Israel enquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God [was] there in those days, And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to-morrow I will deliver them into thine hand….But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven.And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them….So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these [were] men of valour.” Judges 20:27,28,40,41,46
Judges 20 marks one of the darkest moments in Israel’s early history. The men of Gibeah in Benjamin committed an unspeakable crime and the other tribes of Israel rose up against the city to bring punishment. But the men of Benjamin came to the defense of their brother city and opposed the will of the national leadership. Battle ensued. God took the side against Benjamin and brought punishment down upon the heads of not just Gibeah but the entire tribe.
In hindsight perhaps Benjamin realized they should have just stayed out of the way. What was it I wonder that made them rise to the defense of Gibeah: Pride, loyalty, misguided grace?
How many times have I gotten in the way of God’s work in someone else’s life for one of these reasons? How many of life’s lumps came to me simply because I didn’t know enough to back off when God was doing harder work in someone I cared about? I wonder.
Have you ever stepped in God’s way when He was trying to deal with someone else’s life?