In Judges 19 a young woman is raped and murdered by a gang of sex craved men. There is something missing in the event. Throughout the book a pattern of behaviour is repeated:
- the people forget God
- they fall into evil behaviour by copying the world around them
- so God hands them over to be oppressed for a while
- then they cry out to God for mercy
- God delivers them.
The only exception to this pattern is in Samson, where there was no cry for mercy and yet God delivered his people in an act of sovereign grace. In Judges 19-21 there was no cry for mercy, no appeal to God for deliverance, and he didn’t deliver them, he withheld his grace.
If doing what feels right to us is the rule we live by then we become like passengers on the Titanic. It felt right to race across the Atlantic, it felt right because the ship felt unsinkable. But then disaster struck. Human nature, human weakness, a very human desire to do what what felt right ended in 2,223 people needing to be rescued, to be delivered. 1,517 people lost their life in that man-made disaster. The captain didn’t send out distress signals or put up flares for almost half an hour after the ship had hit the iceberg, but at least he sent them out.
It would be have been ridiculous if the ship’s crew or captain had not sent out distress signals, only a fool would let the ship go down without a call for help. And yet, that’s exactly how many people, individuals, communities and government leaders act today. Our first instinct, as a human beings, is to take matters into our own hands, to try and sort out the mess ourselves, but as Judges 19 shows, we only end up doing what we think is best according to our flawed human nature. But Jesus teaches us how to pray “deliver us from evil.” A cry for mercy is not a weak thing to do, it is the right thing to do. God there and God is strong but I am weak. God is wise, I am foolish. God is merciful, I need mercy. God loves to deliver us, we need delivering.
As secular society slides into moral chaos we need to collectively cry to God for mercy and look to his ultimate deliverer, Jesus, who died for our sins to set us free from judgement and wrath. His death shows how serious God is about delivering us and so it is right to call to him for mercy.