The Cowardly Husband
We recently looked at the story of the unfaithful wife, and actually, there are many stories all throughout scripture of women being unfaithful to their husbands. I have recently been studying how to preach Christ from everywhere and from every aspect in scripture. You can find any story in the Bible, and it is possible to preach Christ’s love and forgiveness. That is exactly what we are going to be doing today, but I want to warn you that the story we will be looking at is extremely gruesome, and when I first read it in preparation I was stunned that this was in the Bible.
The Cowardly Husband
Now that is a light and funny example of my question, but is there anything else more serious? Something that would cause you to just walk away? A faithful husband stays and endures all challenges with their partner, a faithful husband is always found right next to their partner willing and ready to take on any challenge that may be opposing them. A problem that would be confined to just one person is now divided among two people. Nothing is done alone anymore, the husband is always right next to their wife. At least that is how it should be but in today’s culture there is very little commitment, either people do not get married because they are scared to have that commitment with another person or people get married not even caring about the commitment that has been made with the other person. Both instances are prime examples of commitments meaning very little to people, and unfortunately, this has become the norm in our “Americanized Christian Culture.” Yes, this is found within the Christian realm of things, sometimes more so than the secular realm.
I am going to give you short context behind what has already happened in this story. This man was traveling and as night was approaching they had to stop in a city, he was traveling with his concubine (Wife) and his servant. They stopped in a city and no one would take them in for the night, until one man said that he would take them for the night, and he was a very gracious man. He fed them, he washed their feet and cared for them while he stayed. That is where verse 22 picks up.
Turn to Judges 19:22-30
As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, surrounded the house, beating on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not do this vile thing. 24 Behold, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. Violate them and do with them what seems good to you, but against this man do not do this outrageous thing.” 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. 26 And as morning appeared, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her master was, until it was light.
27 And her master rose up in the morning, and when he opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, behold, there was his concubine lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up, let us be going.” But there was no answer. Then he put her on the donkey, and the man rose up and went away to his home. 29 And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and taking hold of his concubine he divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 And all who saw it said, “Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the people of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; consider it, take counsel, and speak.”
When you read this story there is a horrifying image of the husband giving his wife over to ruthless men to ravage her and torture her. What a coward, a husband that would not face the people who came for him, but instead offered up his wife so that his skin would be saved. A dreadful picture indeed one that I prefer not imagine. When she appeared back on the doorstep he was furious, he was mad that they killed her. I mean you willingly gave up your wife to be tortured and raped, and then your hypocritically get mad when they tortured and raped her…
So mad in fact that he cuts her up and sends her remains to all of the other tribes, which then initiates a brutal and bloody civil war between the 12 tribes. A husband who acted like a straight up coward now has millions of people’s blood on his hands and he is responsible not only for his wife’s death but also for the death of tons of native people.
What we conclude from this story when we read it is that a coward of a husband gave up his wife to be tortured, raped and ravaged to save his own skin so that he would not get hurt. He then causes a major civil war and is now responsible for thousands of deaths.
“What is the point of the story then?”
“What is the good news?”
Friends if I know one thing about scripture it is that there is ALWAYS good news. Unlike the concubine who had an unfaithful and cowardly husband, we have the most faithful, and the strongest groom ever. We are the bride of the one who was not created, but the creator, we have access to someone who will not forsake us, even when we deserved complete forsakenment.
You see the one and only reason God is and always faithful is because of Christ Jesus, the reason we can experience unwavering love because of Christ is strictly because of the death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus’ death on the cross was the substitutionary atonement for our sins, we cannot and are not able to pay that price, no one can except the one who has no creator, the one who has always been, always is, and always will be. God is the one who is full of mercy and gives abundant grace. God is the one with steadfast love, and righteous wrath. Wrath not to be fearful of, but joyfully grateful for the righteous judgment that God possess.
We are not thrown out to the wolves, we are not thrown out to be ravaged, but Jesus took that on our behalf, and they will never return to ravish us, as their price has been paid. This story paints such a vivid picture of what it looks like to have no ability to attain salvation on our own accord. The work is completely of Jesus, He has done it all for us, and there is absolutely no way for us to attain it, and there is no need to.
Like the old saying says, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”
There is no need to fix it, NOTHING IS BROKEN. In fact, it will never break, it has never broken, and you can always rely on it. As John 10:28 says,
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.”
God in His perfection cannot lose something that he promises not to lose, what does that mean for you and me? Well first and foremost it gives us reason to praise God for His amazing grace and mercy. Secondly, it gives us assurance of our salvation, what God promises to hold tight, he will hold tight.
My words cannot describe it so let’s use someone else’s.
“The roaring thunder of the law and the fear of the terror of judgment are both used to bring us to Christ, but the final victory culminating in our salvation is won through God’s loving-kindness.”