Click here to listen: The Power of Choice

This lesson concluded our close-up view of the Ephraim Levite and his concubine in Judges chapters 19, 20 and 21. We considered the basic difference between a wife and a concubine: betrothal and the husband’s written intent for marriage. Likewise, the born again believer is set apart by her commitment to the Lord and reliance upon His written intent (Scripture) that grows over time as she watches Him keep His word.

Until we are with God, we are without Him.

Concubines are not sanctioned in the Kingdom of God, yet they exist. Women (and men!) made in the image of God settle for second-class toleration and treatment from those who want to keep them low. Concubines bind themselves to man, not God. They want approval they can see, although God says, “You are accepted in the beloved.”

The seat of the concubine is a seat of carnal attachment. It is a soul-tied seat. Concubines surrender their life and senses for the promise of basic needs…needs already provided by God! Concubines prioritize the carnal attachment above relationship with God, yet yearns deeply for the benefits of a Godly covenant.

We began with the account of the Ephraim Levite and his concubine to shake our awareness of the choices we make. We started with this account because it makes two powerful points:

  1. the power of choice; and
  2. the impact of one decision

 The Levite’s decision to cut his concubine up in 12 pieces and send her out to the 12 tribes of Israel was one that affected thousands of lives. We looked at this account first because the damage was quantifiable — meaning we could count it. In the Battle of Gibeah, 25,000 men of Gibeah were killed…and these were trained men. When Judges 21 opens we learn that there are 600 men remaining in Gibeah of Benjamin. Israel weeps before the Lord and asks, “How did a tribe disappear from Israel?”

Suddenly, then, Israel focuses on finding wives for the 600 men who remain. We learn how they vowed to keep their daughters and give them to the 600. Then they create a couple of work-arounds. The more I review the details, the more open-ended this story seems to me. The concubine is never mentioned after she’s cut up and mailed off. The Levite is not mentioned again either.

The key, I think, to keep in mind is the culture of the day. There was no king in Israel, and each man did simply what was right in his own eyes.

The fear of the Lord lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Proverbs 29:25, English Standard Version (ESV)

Selah, and love to all.

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