May 11: Being Good at What Matters
Judges 20:1–21:25; Philippians 4:21–23; Psalm 72:1–20
Though prayer is important, it’s an area of our faith lives that we often neglect. But people of great faith in the Bible relied on prayer—and not just for difficult situations. From general direction to specific details, they turned everything over to prayer. God spoke to them directly, they listened, and then they act.
Maybe you don’t believe God speaks directly to you. If that’s the case, consider why you think this way. Why wouldn’t He want to speak to you? He chose you by sending His own son to die for you. Jesus, that son, said that God would come and speak to you (John 17). You’re important to God, and He wants to talk to you—to know you.
In Judges, we find a situation where people relied on God not just for direction, but for details. The Israelites rose up against the tribe of Benjamin because they refused to address the wickedness among them (Judg 20:12–14). But before entering battle, they inquired of God. They actually asked for the details of the plan: “ ‘Who will go up first for the battle against the descendants of Benjamin?’ And Yahweh said, ‘Judah will go first.’ ”
We often forget how important it is to ask God about the details—to seek His guidance in all things. Neglecting prayer is a huge mistake. We need God’s grace, the grace of Christ, to be with us always: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Phil 4:23). Having the grace dwell upon us, and in us, in all things, requires a constant pursuit of Him. Rather than laboring over the details of your life alone, ask God.
What details in your life need to be worked out? Have you presented them to God and sought His voice?
JOHN D. BARRY
- Then all the children of Israel went out, and the Congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the Lord in Mizpah. And the chief of all the people, and all the tribes of Israel assembled in the Congregation of the people of God four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword. (Now the children of Banjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpah) Then, the children of Israel said, How is this wickedness committed? And the same Levite, the woman’s household that was slain, answered and said, I came unto Gibeah that is in Benjamin with my concubine to lodge, And the men of Gibeah arose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, thinking to have slain me, and have forced my concubine that she is dead. Then I took my concumbine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they have committed abominatoin and villainy in Israel. Then I took my concubines, and cut her in pieces, and sent her througout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they have committed abomination and villiany in Israel. Behold, ye are all children of Israel, give your advice, and counsel herein. Then all the people arose as one man, saying, There shall not a man of us go to his tent, neither any turn into his house. But now this is that thing which we will do to Gibeah: we will go up by lot against it. And we will take ten men of the hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and an hundred of the thousand, and a thousand of ten thousand to bring victual for the people, that they may do (when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin) according to all the villiany, that it hath done in Israel. So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man. And the tribes of Israel sent me through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is committed among you? Now therefore deliver us those wicked me which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel: but the children of Benjamin would not obey the voice of their brethren the children of Israel. But the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities of Gibeah, to come out and fight against the children of Israel. And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time, out of the cities, six and twenty thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men. Of all this people were seven hundred chosen men, being left handed: all these could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not fail. Also the men of Israel beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword, even all men of war. And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked of God, saying, Which of us shall go up first to fight against the children of Benjamin? and the Lord said, Judah shall be first. Then the children of Israel arose up early and camped agaisnt Gibeah.And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them beside Gibeah. And the children of Benjamin came out of Gibeah, and slew down to the ground of the Israelites that day two and twenty thousand men. And the people, the men of Israel plucked up their hearts, and set their battle again in array in the place wehre they put them in array the first day. (For the children of Israel had gone up and wept before the Lord unto the evening, and had asked of the Lord, saying, Shall I go again to battle agasinst the children of Banjamin my brethren? and the Lord said, Go up against them.) Then the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. Also the second day Benjamin came forth to meet them out of Gibeah, and slew down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men: all they could handle the sword. Then all the children of Israel went up, and allthe people came also unto the house of God, and wept, and said there before the Lord, and fasted that day unto the evening, and offered burnt offeirngs and peace offerings before the Lord. And the children Israel asked the Lord (for there was the Ark of the Covenant of God in those days, And Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron stood before it at the time) saying, Shall I yet go anymore to battle against the children of Benjamin my brethren, or shall I cease? And the Lord said, Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand. And Israel set men to live in wait roundabout Gibeah. And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. Then the children of Benjamin coming out against the people, were drawn from the city: and they began to smite of the people and kill as at other times, even by the ways in the field (whereof one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah) upon a thirty men of Israel. (For the children of Benjamin said, They are fallen before us, as at the first, But the children of Israel said, Let us flee and pluck them away from the city unto the highways.) And all the men of Israel rose up out of that place, and put themselves in array at Baal Tamar: and the men that lay in wait of the Israelites came forth of their place, even out of the meadows of Geba. And they came over against Gibeah, ten thousand chosen men of all Israel, and the battle was sore: for they knew not that the evil was near them. And the Lord smote Benjamin before Israel, and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites the same day five and twenty thousand and an hundred men: all they could handle the sword. So the children of Benjamin saw that they were stricken down: for the men of Israel gave place to the Benjamites, because they trusted to the men that lay in war, which they had left beside Gibeah. And they that lay in wait hasted, and brake forth toward Gibeah, and the ambushment drew themselves along, and smote all the city with the edge of the sword. Also the men of Israel had appointed a certain time with the ambushments, that they should make a great flame and smoke arise up out of the city. And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons: for they said, Surely they are stricken down before us, as in the first battle. But when the flame began to rise out of the city as a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked back, and behold, the flame of the city began to ascend up to heaven. Then the men of Israel turned again, and the men of Benjamin were astonished: for they saw that evil was near unto them. Therefore they fled before the men of Israel unto the way of teh wilderness, but the battle overtook them: also they which came out of the cities, slew them among them. Thus they compassed the Benjamites about, and chased them at ease, and overrant them, even over against Gibeah on the East side. And there were slain of Benjamin eighteen thousand men, which were all men of war. And they turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and the Israelites gleaned of them by the way five thousand men, and pursued after them unto Gideon, and slew two thousand men of them, So that all that were slain that day of Benjamin, were five and twenty thousand men that drew sword, which were all men of war. But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon, and abode in the rock of Rimmon four months. Then the men of Israel turned unto the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, from teh men of the city unto the beasts, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they could come by. Moreover, the men of Israel sware in Mizpah, saying, None of us shall give his daughter unto the Benjamites to wife. And the people came unto the house of God and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept with great lamentation, And said, O Lord God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that this day one tribe of Israel should want? And on the morrow the people rose up and made there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Then the children of Israel said, Who is he among all the tribes of Israel, that came not up with the Congregation unto the Lord? for they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the Lord to Mizpah, saying, Let him die the death. And the children of Israel were sorry for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day. How shall we do for wives to them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the Lord, that we will not give them our daughters to wives? Also they said, is there any of the tribes of Israel that came up to Mizpah to the Lord? and behold, there came none of Jabesh Gilead unto the host, and to the Congregation. For when the people were viewed, behold, none of the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead were there. Therefore the Congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the most valiant, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead wiht the edge of the sword, both women and children. And this is it that ye shall do: ye shall utterly destroy all the males, and all the women that have lain by men. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead four hundred maids, virgins that had known no man by laying with any male: and they brought them unto the host of Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. Then the whole Congregation sent and spake with the children of Benjamin that were in the rock of Rimmon, and called peaceably unto them: And Benjamin came again at that time, and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh Gilead: but they had not so enough for them. And the people were sorry for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. Therefore the Elders of the Congregation said, How shall we do for wives to the remnant? for the women of Benjamin are destroyed. And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel. Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel had sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin. Therefore they said, Behold, there is a feast of the Lord every year in Shiloh, in a place, which is on the North side of Bethel, and on the East side of the way that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the South of Lebonah. Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go, and lie in wait in the vineyards. And when ye see that the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man a wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. And when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, we will say unto them, Have pity on them for our sakes, becasue we reserved not to each man his wife in the war, and because ye have not given unto them hitherto, ye have sinned. And the children of Benjamin did so, and took wives of them that danced according to their number: which they took, and went away, and returned to their inheritance, and repaired the cities and dwelt in them. So the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe, and to his family, and went out from thence every man to his inheritance. In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was good in his eyes. Judges 20:1–21:25
- Salute all the Saints in Christ Jesus. The brethren, which are with me, greet you. All the Saints salute you, and most of all they which are of Caesars household. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, Amen. Philippians 4:21–23
- Give thy judgments to the King, O Lord, and thy righteousness to the King’s son. Then shall he judge thy people in righteousness, and thy poor with equity. The mountains, and the hills shall bring peace to the people by justice. He shall judge the poor of the people: he shall save the children of the needy, and shall subdue the oppressor. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endureth, from generation to generation. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, and as the showers that water the earth. In his days shall the righeous flourish, and abundance of peace shall be so long as the moon endureth. His dominion shall be also from sea to sea, and from river unto the ends of the land. They that dwell in the wilderness, shall kneel before him, and his enemies shall lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall bring gifts. Yea, all kings shall worship him: all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the poor when he crieth: the needy also, and him that have no helper. He shall be mericful to the poor and needy, and shall preserve the soul of the poor. He shall redeem their souls from deceit and violence, and dear shall their blood be in his sight. Yea, he shall live,, and unto him shall they give of the gold of Sheba: they shall also pray for him continually, and daily bless him. An handful of corn shall be sown in the earth, even in the top of the mountains, and the fruit thereof shalt shake like the trees of Lebanon: and the children shall flourish out of the city like the grass of the earth. His name shall be forever: his name shall endure as long as the Sun: all nations shall bless him, and be blessed in him. Blessed be the Lord God, even the God of Israel which only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious Name forever: and let all the earth be filled with his glory. So be it, even so be it. Here end the prayers of David the son of Jesse. Psalm 72:1–20