The Levite’s gruesome message to the rest of Israel served its purpose. They rallied to take revenge on those who had murdered the man’s concubine and had threatened him. Though they outnumbered the Benjamites almost twenty to one, the first two days of battle saw their number reduced by a tenth. Each time they were routed by the smaller force, they turned and asked God (with growing doubt), “Should we do this?” And each time, God sent them back into battle. But only when they fasted, sat in God’s presence, and offered sacrifices to the Lord, did He give them victory.
There’s a difference between asking God to endorse a decision we’ve made and seeking God’s Will. Abraham Lincoln is famously quoted as saying, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right” when he was asked by a pastor whether he believed God was on his side in the Civil War.
How often, both personally and collectively as a church, state, or nation, do we move forward with our own agenda and pray for God to bless it instead of earnestly praying that He would align our hearts with His agenda? How many times do we find ourselves on the wrong side of history because what is “right” seems so obvious to us that we don’t bother to seek God’s perspective on it? How seldom do we recognize the incredible arrogance it betrays to presume we know the Will of God without inquiring of Him? His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are as far beyond ours as the stars in the heavens.
How many perish because we rush in thinking we have an easy win and we know just what to do, but fail to spend time in prayer, fasting, and devoting ourselves to God’s mission first?