Judges 20 is an account that hasn’t made Sunday school curriculum! None of us like to hear about crude, sin-filled, lustful behavior. Delayed answers to prayer, the good guys get killed, and the human suffering is not the type of devotional material most of us are attracted to read.
After the rape and murder of the Levite’s wife/concubine, punishment was inevitable.
The Israelites met God at Bethel and he told them “Judah is to go first” (Judges 20:18)
And the Israelites, the good guys in this battle, lost 22,000 warriors on the battlefield that day.
So again they asked the Lord’s direction. God’s answer was “Go out and fight against them.” (Judges 20:23b)
That day they lost 18,000 experienced swordsmen.
Then all of Israel went to Bethel, wept, fasted, brought offerings, and asked direction. This time the Lord said, “Go! Tomorrow I will hand them over to you.” (Judges 20:28)
And this time, the Israelites were victorious, losing only 30 of their own soldiers and defeating the people in Gibeah.
When I look for an answer to prayer, I realize that it might take some time. And that difficult places won’t instantly get easier.
But I don’t expect them to get HARDER. I would have been tempted to think that I had misunderstood God’s voice, especially the second day.
It reminds me of Jesus answer to his disciples who couldn’t cast out some demons. “But this kind of demon won’t leave unless you have prayed and gone without food.” Matthew 17:21
I’ll admit that a lot of times, my prayers are “on the fly.” And some requests require more time, attention, focus, and deliberate prayer. Corporate prayer has exponential power, too.
Most of all, it challenges me that the response to what seems an unanswered prayer is to KEEP on PRAYING. God’s plan and purpose will be manifested in our lives when we worship HIM.