Judges 18:22-23   When they had gone some distance from Micah’s house, the men who lived near Micah were called together and overtook the Danites.  As they shouted after them, the Danites turned and said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you that you called out your men to fight?”

These verses throw light on two realities that we all struggle with in our fallen world.

Firstly, the sinful human heart is capable of an incredibly deceitful level of ‘self-justification’!  The Danites had just used their overwhelmingly superior resources to rob a poor, helpless, unsuspecting man, Micah, of his treasured possessions, and when the victim rallied his neighbours to correct this gross injustice the bullies’ response was “What’s the matter with you” – “Why are you complaining about our actions? – We simply came and took what we wanted and we feel quite justified in doing this because we were stronger, more numerous, and more powerful than you!  We’re quite satisfied with the outcome of our actions – just get over it!”

Do we see a parallel here with the actions of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine? – the dictator expects his forces. and the rest of the world, to condone his actions.  No, Mr Putin, the majority of the world does NOT condone what you are so desperately trying to justify, and you stand condemned as guilty of heinous war crimes.

But the second thing we have to wrestle with in all this is that the Sovereign Lord God was USING these sinful human actions to carry out his amazing redemptive purposes!  We think of Joseph’s reassurance to his wicked brothers when they came to Egypt for food: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20).  We think of Peter’s words to the amazed crowd that gathered when he healed the lame man: “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus.  You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go.  You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you.  You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this” (Acts 3:13-15).

In this broken world, are we prepared to call out the self-justifying talk of bullies?  And are we prepared to accept the sometimes very strange providence of a loving God “who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:11b-12).  Can we TRUST HIM with EVERYTHING?
– Bruce Christian