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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Prayers in the Bible: A delayed answer in the war against Benjamin

Judges 20 tells a remarkable story. The Israelites were attacking one of their own tribes, that of Benjamin, and for a good reason. The Benjaminites had refused to turn over some of their own, who had committed rape and murder, for punishment. (You can read about the crime in Judges 19.)

The people of the other tribes consulted God before going to battle, and they were answered. For two consecutive days, they consulted God, and, when answered, followed God's orders, but were soundly defeated by the warriors from Benjamin. In fact, 40,000 of them were killed on these two days. (This was more than the entire army of Benjamin, so it wasn't because they were outnumbered.) The people consulted God before the first day's battle, and followed His directions. They were beaten. They consulted God before the second day's battle, and followed His directions. They were beaten. They consulted God before the third day's battle, and, this time, almost wiped out the entire army of Benjamin. Why did it take so long? Why did God direct them to what seems, to us (and to the Israelites) two days of disaster? We really don't know why.

But I think there are lessons for me in this. I need to persevere. I'm not God. I don't understand everything. God does. I hope I've learned these lessons.

This is one of a series on prayers in the Bible. The last post is here. Thanks for reading. Keep praying.

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