Unwilling to Deal with your Sin

Judges 20


Jerry A Collins



v     What do we do instead of dealing with sin?

v     How should we plan to war with sin?

v     How far should we go as we battle sin?


I do not think we comprehend how central sin is in our daily lives and the lives of those around us. We just do not think about life from God’s point of view. We live in a world that is obsessed with removing the consequences of sin so that we can live our lives any way we please. No limits, no boundaries, but freedom to live the way you want. Our weste3rn society is working hard at eliminating the consequences of sin. For example legalized abortion, legalized homosexual marriage, and AIDS research is an attempt to allow us to have sexual relations with whoever we wish without the consequences or stigma of our sin (Rom 1:18ff). Pragmatism says you can identify sin by its consequences and then can try to eliminate those. God says you can identify sin by my commandments and we should obey those. We have a case in Judges 20 of refusing to acknowledge sin and the harsh outcome that resulted from that attempt.


The Gathering 1-3       After the body parts were received by all of the tribes (19:29-30), all the chiefs gathered from Dan to Beersheba, that is, from the northern to southern boundaries of Israel, and from the land of Gilead—referring to the transjordanian tribes—with 400,000 soldiers strong. Word had gotten out to the Benjamites and apparently the author wants us to know that they know something is up. These chiefs wanted to hear the story directly from the Levite who was at the center of it.

The Story 4-7     So the gruesome story is recounted for them.A  group of worthless fellows,  from the tribe of Benjamin, wanted to rape the Levite but instead were given his concubine and the ravished and raped her all night long until they killed the concubine. So what should we do vs 7? In other words, what is the verdict?

The Decision 8-11       No one will go home until they take care of this thing. They draw lots to choose 10% of them to go against Gibeah. They are absolutely united in containing this debauchery and executing justice against these worthless fellows of the tribe of Benjamin. They send a message to give these wicked men up and execute them removing this wickedness from Israel.

The Response 13-17 The Benjamites refused to give these men up for justice. Instead they muster 26000 warriors some who are elite vs 16, against the 400,000 who were all men of war vs 17. These are battle hardened and readied soldiers.

NB: Now why is it thousands of people are about to die in this conflict? The Banjamites:

1. Instead of dealing with this as a spiritual problem, they dealt with it as a physical one. 2. Instead of dealing with their sin, they tried to destroy the ones pointing out their sin. 3. Instead of dealing with it internally, they dealt with it externally. 4. Instead of dealing with it individually—the specific men who committed the act—they dealt with it corporately—with the whole tribe. Community can lead you astray. It is not community we should seek but individual responsibility from which we can judge the community. 5. Instead of realizing they were spiritually and morally weak, they believed they were physically strong, they thought they could win. They believed they had better warriors. Most people most of the time will be like the Benjamites. They will not admit, agree, or cooperate with your opposing sinful activity like say, premarital sex, abortions, homosexuality, divorce/remarriage, financial debt. They may agree it is wrong for some reason but usually back off or object to doing anything about it. They will often support the sinners—the Benjamites supported the bisexual rapists—and condemn those attempting discipline of confronting. Doing the correct thing is never easy. So expect noncooperation whenever you take a stand against sin—even your own!We would rather go to war to protect the sinner or continue our own sin than to confront it, call it what it is, and stop it.


Do this with you sin or another’s. Do not think that just because you prayed for it God will make it easy. This battle was fought in three day timeframe.

Day #1 18-21     The Israelites go to Bethel and inquire of God vs 18. They ask who should go up first. God says, ‘Judah’ and they lose 22,000 men in battle.

Day #2 22-25     The next day they weep vs 23 before the Lord. Shall we do battle again? they ask. God says to go. That day they lost 18000 men in battle.

Day #3 26-47    This time they offer offerings, weep, fast, and pray before the Ark of the covenant vs 26-27. Shall we do battle again or stopvs 28? God said go for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand. Notice that all this time the Benjamites have not shown any remorse and willingness to consider the sin of their people. They had the chance. This time the Benjamites were routed by a new strategy. The men of Israel decided to set an ambush mentioned numerous times vs 29, 33, 36-38, and it was so successful, the Benjamites had now idea disaster was approaching vs 34 until it was too late vs 41. Why did Israel lose the 1st 2 days and win the 3rd?

1. There was no sin, which caused them to lose as with Jericho/Ai.

2. They did correct thing according to law—Benjamin protected evil that brought the death penalty.

3. The action all days had approval of God.

4. They called upon God the right way with a Levite priest and Ark.

5. Their prayers increased in intensity from day 1-3.

PT: The third day there is a major change in their philosophy of war. Instead of just praying about it and going out to battle, they developed a strategy and most of the chapter is devoted to explaining it. So be strategic in your battle against sin even your own. Do not think just praying about your relationship with your spouse or children or boss or relatives to improve just because you prayed about it, and it is the right thing to pray for, if you also do not change yourself and your strategy toward the problem!


The Israelites did not stop with capturing Gibeah. They continued pursuing until they had completely defeated Benjamin vs 48. So when you get a victory over some type of sin, don’t stop there. Press on to totally destroy the sin, it’s context, where it operates, and it’s source of temptation, like a boyfriend, or your peer group, or your pleasure activities, or your position in the company, or your drinking. Jesus says, ‘If your right hand offends you, cut it off…’ Mt 5:30.

1. Spiritual/moral victory is often accompanied by physical material earthly loss. You may or may not be better off on earth, or happier of notin the long run for going to war with sin, but the war itself will probably be accompanied by physically painful losses here on earth.

2. Victory over sin is usually not instantaneous. It is usually a path of many defeats, weeping along the way, fighting here and there, losing some, fighting and weeping some more and coming to the brink of giving up vs 28. All this does not mean God has given up on you or your out of His will. That is determined by Scripture not the difficulties of the battle or your success/failure ration in your battle with sin. PT: We often hear testimonies of people who had a significant problem, prayed about it, or got saved, and it immediately went away—like an addiction, an affair, debt, pornography, gossip. Such testimonies are not good for wisdom. Certainly God may remove sin and temptation instantly. But He usually does not. It is usually removed the way the Israelites removed the wicked men of Gibeah—with great difficulty.