In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

Judges 21:25 (NIV)

The book of Judges ends with this eerie image of what it looked like to live in Israel between the time of Joshua’s death and the installment of Saul as the first king of Israel. If this verse wasn’t enough to remind the reader about the condition of Israel at this time. The story of the Levite and his concubine is certain to leave anyone with a feeling of horror over what can happen when a nation turns away from God to follow the desires of the flesh.

If you haven’t read the account of the Levite and his concubine in Judges, then I invite you to do so here (Judges 19-21). I will warn you that this story is one of the most brutal and horrifying stories in the Bible.

When I think about this story, it strikes me that the entire affair could have been avoided if the Levite in the story hadn’t been governed by his flesh.

When the Levite first arrived at his concubine’s house, her father invites him to stay, so for three days, they live it up eating and drinking (cf. Judges 19:4). We don’t get any indication that this was unusual. Indeed in the East, this sort of hospitality is welcomed and expected. However, after three days of reveling, the Levite goes to leave. This is where he starts to run into problems.

On the fourth day they got up early and he prepared to leave, but the woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Refresh yourself with something to eat; then you can go.” So the two of them sat down to eat and drink together. Afterward the woman’s father said, “Please stay tonight and enjoy yourself.” And when the man got up to go, his father-in-law persuaded him, so he stayed there that night.

Judges 19:5-7 (NIV)

Understandably, the Levite wouldn’t want to necessarily turn down his father-in-law’s continued offer of hospitality. However, he’s been there for three days already and it would have behooved him to have left. Instead, he ends up staying for another day. On the fifth day, he allows himself to be delayed again by enjoying himself for the day until it’s almost evening. However, instead of staying the night again, the Levite decides to finally leave (cf. Judges 19:9) The problem is that it’s almost dark and will soon be dark. In those days, most sensible people wouldn’t be traveling at night since it was considerably more dangerous than traveling during the day. The problem with this Levite was that he had his priorities mixed up. This might not have been a big deal if his actions only impacted himself and his immediate family, yet they do not.

There are things that we are supposed to do. Indeed, things we need to and ought to do. We are to live a life of the Spirit and not one that gratifies the flesh. In Judges 19-20, we see a man who pursued a woman who was unfaithful to him (cf. Judges 19:2-3). He stayed many days at her father’s house enjoying himself. Likely, indulging in the desires of the flesh. Eating, drinking, and having relations with his concubine (cf. Judges 19:5-7). He put off returning to where he belonged, and when he did leave, he found himself in a foreign place and in a situation that resulted in the rape and murder of his concubine (cf. Judges 19:13-28). Furthermore, a civil war broke out among the Israelites, and many people died. Over 65,000 men died, and all of the Benjamite towns were put to the sword and set on fire. The Israelite town of Jabesh Gilead was put to the sword with everything in it, except for 400 virgins, being murdered (they didn’t rally to fight against the Benjamites). Women from Shiloh were kidnapped and forced to be wives as well. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out. All of this is because one Levite gave into the desires of the flesh instead of following the Spirit.

We know the wages of sin is death. We might think this “death” only applies to us, which is quite ironic because all of humanity is dealing with sin that started with one person. Hopefully, we might see something in this story of the Levite to remind us that our actions can have greater consequences than we could ever imagine.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be free from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.