Written By: Stephen Ojo Gbadegesin
The concubine of a certain Levite was gang raped by men of Gibeah in Benjamin, according to Judges 20. The man cut the body of his wife into pieces and sent portions to all the tribes of Israel. It was an extremely bad omen. Israel came out in one voice and demanded that the Benjamites brought out the children of Belial among them who committed such sacrilegious atrocities in Israel, but Benjamites refused. Israel decided to go to war with them, and this brings us to the lessons of today.
Israel from all indications was right in fighting such evils in the land. There were instances in the past when God was happy with them for fighting evils from taking over Israel. Phinehas the priest had been a beneficiary of such act of holy bravery. However, the unusual happened in this case, and we need to learn something there. Benjamites had 26,000 warriors, with 700 elite fighters, while Israel had 400,000 soldiers, this shows that Benjamites stood no chance.
Also, no records of Benjamites ever prayed or ask God for assistance. Perhaps they knew they had a very bad case, but only resolved to fight with determination and singleness of purpose. Israel on the other hand declared fasting and praying. Their first prayers was “God, which tribe should go and attack Benjamites first ” God responded ” Judah should go first “. At the end of the day, Benjamites won, killing 22,000 Israeli soldiers.
Israel went back to Bethel, the house of God, fasted and prayed all through the day with weeping, and they prayed this way ” God, shall I go and fight Benjamin my brother ?. God said ” Go”. They went again and were defeated by Benjamites, who killed 18,000 Israeli soldiers. They finally went back to Bethel, fasted and prayed again, and changed their contents of prayers. ” God, shall we go after Benjamin our brothers or shall we not”, God now responded ” Go after them, for this is the time I will hand over Benjamites to your hands” . God never said they would win, or He would intervene in the first two instances. So, they ought not to go yet, there was no clear signal.
In the first two instances of fasting and praying with wailing, God’s will was not sought, they only asked for his endorsement of their premeditated conclusion. He gave them answers they wanted, but they failed. Lastly they came asking for God’s will to be done, in other words ” God, what Benjamites have done is evil against us, and most importantly against you, they have shielded the perpetrators, which is their endorsement of such evils. You have warned us against such, and that we must purge Israel of such evil. Benjamites are still arrogant in their evils and rather poised for war. However, let your will be done, not what we think should be the judgment, but what you think. Decide for us, and we are ready to abide ” God was pleased and happy.
Finally, always seek His will on all matters. As you go about prayers in this year, it’s all about His will. Also, don’t rush out of His presence. Don’t go to war, if He has not given you assurance of winning ( I will deliver them into your hands), and always understand the timing ( This time). May God help us to pray in a right way and give us the patience needed to hear His response in Jesus name.