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. Everyone who saw it was saying to one another, “Such a thing has never been seen or done, not since the day the Israelites came up out of Egypt. Just imagine! We must do something! So speak up!” (Judges 19:29-30)
Isn’t it true that, whenever something tragic happens in our culture, we collectively cringe at how far things have moved away from what is pure and wholesome? My mind immediately reflects on the awful occurrences of the last year or so when a gunman opened fire in a movie theatre in Colorado and another gunman went on a killing rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In each of those circumstances as well as in others, we experience an overwhelming sense that things aren’t what they are supposed to be. What we experience in those moments, however, isn’t a new phenomenon.
Few stories in the Bible are as tragic and gruesome as the poor woman who was raped to death and then dismembered by her husband in an effort to get Israel’s attention for how far it had strayed from the way things were supposed to be. Outraged by the perverseness of what his poor wife experienced, the man sent a piece of her body to each tribe of Israel so that they would feel the same outrage. The plan worked.
What got Israel to the point where it was? Godlessness.
A lack of of God led to all kinds of corruption then just as it does now.
The Bible is clear, and secular history confirms, that life without God leads to all kinds of evils because the presence of God provides a moral compass for people.
Our challenge, as a culture, is to learn from history and to seek to avoid making similar mistakes. When we remove God from our midst, we can expect to suffer. And until God is included in our lives both individually and collectively, we can expect more and more tragedies. The challenge is to ask ourselves how to go about bringing Him back in.
Father, we live in a culture that has sought to remove Your and Your ways from any kind of prominence. We have denounced the values You established for Your people as archaic and oppressive, and yet we know they bring true freedom. Help us to place You at the center of our lives, and let us do so in a way that is contagious to those around us.