For after they counted all the people, no one from Jabesh-gilead was present. – Judges 21:9
A Levite priest stopped for the night in the town of Gibeah in Benjamin. The leaders of the town came to the house where he stayed and demanded he be released to them. These men wanted to rape this priest, but instead, the priest’s wife was given to them. They abused her and raped her until she died. He send word of this crime throughout Israel,who responded in full force as a nation against these men and eventually the town of Gibeah. The nation swore that anyone who hadn’t assembled with them would be destroyed. It happened that no one from Jabesh-Gilead had come as required. The entire town minus 400 virgin women were destroyed. The town ignored their brothers to come and assist in the matter and to help purge Israel of this evil as required by God.
There is a consequence people pay for not following God’s word. The ultimate price is death, eternal separation from God, when a person totally rejects God’s gift of salvation by grace through faith. People, as long as they live in this flesh, will sin from time to time. We are not to excuse sin or make grace a license to sin, but we have mercy from God through Jesus’ sacrifice when we do. Jabesh-Gilead, as a town, decided they were not going to obey the voice of God. Instead they held out from the assembly and did their thing. It cost them almost everything save the 400 virgin women, who were eventually given to the men left of the tribe of Benjamin.
What price have you paid for your sin? Or are you paying a price for sin? The consequence will live with you as a result of your sin, but thank the Father we don’t have to bear the full cost of the sin. Jesus took it away from us. There will be the little things in life that are resultant from sin, but they don’t carry over with us into eternity. The blood of Jesus removed the price of death from us. We are afforded eternal life because we accepted God’s gift of life through Jesus. The people of Jabesh-Gilead were not spared in such fashion. They reaped the price of their outright rebellion. You don’t have to live with guilt or shame of the past. God has spared you and wants to move you forward. Just learn to humble yourself before your God and walk in that humility before him. He will raise you up if you do so.
Father, what a vivid story and so graphic in content! It catches the mind and causes one to pause and think about our behavior. Each person is responsible for their actions because no one can make a person do what they don’t want to do. You’ve given us freedom of choice. We can obey, or not. I choose to obey you out of my love for you. I am not perfect by any standard, as you well know. However, I do want to learn how to be more obedient than I have ever been. Sin has an immediate and future price. I am so glad that you took away the future price even though there may be an immediate price to pay. Thank you for redeeming me and setting me from the curse of death. I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.