We sometimes assume that if the Lord tells us to do something that we know how things will pan out. For example, surely we will be successful straight away if He has told us to do it? Or surely we’re going to win if He has told us to go? The truth is, the outcome is none of our business, our job is simply to be obedient. The Lord has His own strategy and His own reasons for doing what He does, but because we don’t always understand, we sometimes get left feeling like we’ve misheard God or perhaps even been let down. Let’s read Judges 20:18-48 which is an interesting passage of scripture.
“Before the battle the Israelites went to Bethel and asked God, “Which tribe should go first to attack the people of Benjamin?” The Lord answered, “Judah is to go first.” So the Israelites left early the next morning and camped near Gibeah. Then they advanced toward Gibeah to attack the men of Benjamin. But Benjamin’s warriors, who were defending the town, came out and killed 22,000 Israelites on the battlefield that day. But the Israelites encouraged each other and took their positions again at the same place they had fought the previous day. For they had gone up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord until evening. They had asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again?” And the Lord had said, “Go out and fight against them.” So the next day they went out again to fight against the men of Benjamin, but the men of Benjamin killed another 18,000 Israelites, all of whom were experienced with the sword. Then all the Israelites went up to Bethel and wept in the presence of the Lord and fasted until evening. They also brought burnt offerings and peace offerings to the Lord. The Israelites went up seeking direction from the Lord. (In those days the Ark of the Covenant of God was in Bethel, and Phinehas son of Eleazar and grandson of Aaron was the priest.) The Israelites asked the Lord, “Should we fight against our relatives from Benjamin again, or should we stop?” The Lord said, “Go! Tomorrow I will hand them over to you.” So the Israelites set an ambush all around Gibeah. They went out on the third day and took their positions at the same place as before. When the men of Benjamin came out to attack, they were drawn away from the town. And as they had done before, they began to kill the Israelites. About thirty Israelites died in the open fields and along the roads, one leading to Bethel and the other leading back to Gibeah. Then the warriors of Benjamin shouted, “We’re defeating them as we did before!” But the Israelites had planned in advance to run away so that the men of Benjamin would chase them along the roads and be drawn away from the town. When the main group of Israelite warriors reached Baal-tamar, they turned and took up their positions. Meanwhile, the Israelites hiding in ambush to the west of Gibeah jumped up to fight. There were 10,000 elite Israelite troops who advanced against Gibeah. The fighting was so heavy that Benjamin didn’t realize the impending disaster. So the Lord helped Israel defeat Benjamin, and that day the Israelites killed 25,100 of Benjamin’s warriors, all of whom were experienced swordsmen. Then the me