Judges 19:1-20:48

Bertie was a space mouse. And if you don’t know what a space mouse it is, it is mouse that travels in space. And Bertie did love travelling. Indeed, he went to all sorts of places, and saw all sorts of sights that you would never believe. He went here and there, from one solar system to another. He loved going everywhere. That is everywhere, except for one particular place.

The problem was that it wasn’t the planet that was the problem. And it wasn’t the particular country that was the problem, at least not to start with. It was a small group of people in one particular town.

“Ugh, it’s a mouse,” some screamed at him. “It’s one of those horrible space mice.” And they jumped up on chairs to get out of his way. But worse than that, they threw things at him, and set traps to catch him. And no matter what Bertie did it was always the same.

“That’s not fair,” he squeaked. “You don’t treat anyone else like that.” But they did. Because not only didn’t they like space mice, they didn’t like galactic snakes, celestial rats, and cosmic crocodiles either. But they didn’t necessarily scream and stand on chairs to them. They were just nasty to them in different ways.

So when Bertie reported this to the Intergalactic Tourist Board, they were not impressed. But what could they do? How could they make the people of a particular town, in a particular country, in a particular planet, more friendly? They were supposed to be friendly. Indeed, their laws said they were to be kind to all. But what could they do? They had to come up with a plan. So they came up with a plan that involved getting the people of the particular country to deal with the people of the particular town.

But did it work? No! In fact they defended them. So the situation didn’t get better; it got worse. So they had to come up with another plan. A plan which involved the whole world getting the people of the particular country to see reason.

But did it work? No. They just turned a blind eye. They didn’t want to know. And that wasn’t any help to poor Bertie the space mouse, or the galactic snakes, or the celestial rats, or the cosmic crocodiles either.

Eventually the Intergalactic Tourist Board had done all they could possibly do, but without success. So they struck the planet off their list. They simply refused to allow anyone else to go that planet until the people learned how to behave.

But it hasn’t happened yet. And if you want to know which planet they struck off, have you ever seen any space mice, galactic snakes, celestial rats, or cosmic crocodiles? I don’t expect you have. And now you know why.

*****

Now being friendly to others, being kind, and looking after others, is something we are all supposed to do. Indeed, that’s how God wants us to be. But it’s not always like that. And some people are not like that at all.

Which is why some of us—perhaps all of us—worry sometimes whether we are going to be safe when we meet certain people or when we go to certain places, particular those we haven’t been to before. The sad truth is that people are not always as welcoming or as kind as they should be. And even though we have laws to protect us against situations like that, not everyone takes them seriously, and people often turn a blind eye to the behaviour of others.

Now the Israelites had this problem. There was a small group of people who were far from welcoming. Indeed they took advantage of any visitor to their town. As a consequence, the whole country sent a delegation to sort out the matter. But it wasn’t resolved well. The baddies were simply supported by those around them. And to resolve the problem the country had to resort to drastic measures.

Of course, it would be very nice if everyone was caring and friendly. But that’s not reality. As a consequence, we have to be careful to whom we speak, and to which places we go. But just because others are mean and unfriendly, doesn’t mean that we have to be mean and unfriendly too.

Indeed, God wants us to be friendly and caring. And certainly doesn’t want us to be the ones who are screaming and standing on chairs.

Posted 25th October 2019
© 2019, Brian A Curtis
www.brianacurtis.com.au