Judges 19:29-30 29 When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into twelve parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel. 30 Everyone who saw it said, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Think about it! Consider it! Tell us what to do!”
I did NOT want to write about this chapter today, mainly because I was disturbed. Here you have the story of a Levite and his concubine (kind of like a wife, but considered purely property). She runs away, he goes after her, and they journey back home. On the way home, the men of a village want to have sex with the man – okay gross. Instead, they take his concubine and completely rape and abuse her to death. I can’t even fathom this whole scenario. It is disgusting and vile and every other wicked word you can come up with.
So when the Levite gets home, he cuts his dead concubine up into 12 pieces and mails them to all the tribes in Israel. I have received a lot of packages in the mail, but imagine receiving a leg or an arm. That’s just plain wrong! So why did he do it? What drove him to this extreme thing? The first verse of the chapter gives us a clue. It said that Israel had no king; they had no leadership. And without leadership, lawlessness prevails. That’s partly what led to the horrific thing done to this concubine. But it’s also what led the man to this odd mass mailing. He had no leader to appeal to for justice. He had no judge, no supreme court. So he appealed to the entire nation and I guess he thought this was the best way to get their attention. He didn’t have email, twitter, or the local news to get the word out. He had to rely solely on himself.
Which makes me grateful for leadership. It makes me grateful for order. Without leadership in our lives, we are forced to figure out on our own what is right. Without leadership, we don’t have anyone to hold us accountable for our actions, and the depravity of the human condition will emerge in a leaderless society. So we need to be led, whether we like it or not. That’s why I value leadership so much. There are times where I think it would be easier to be out there on my own not having to answer to anyone, but I recognize the danger in that kind of thinking. So I surround myself with accountability and leadership over my life. And it starts with God. We must first let Him lead and from there allow Godly leadership into our lives. Because once we venture out on our own, we will eventually find ourselves in danger with no one to cry out to.