The similarities between Genesis 19 (Sodom and Gomorrah) and Judges 19 are just... mind-blowing. But there's one key difference. (I actually got this comparison from this book. I didn't end up reading the whole book - it was a bit long-winded for me but this is the table from page 68.)
A Levite and his concubine
Cautioned not to spend the night in the town square
By an old man of Gibeah
Demands of group rape by the men of the city and two women offered instead
Lot's two virgin daughters
The old man's virgin daughter and the Levite's concubine
Same Hebrew word
(ya-daw) used in:
"have sex with them" (NIV)
They're actually very similar stories. And they use the exact same Hebrew word. Except it gets translated different in the two accounts. To be fair, that word can also be translated as "cognitively know", "consensual sex" or "rape" and it's the context that changes the meaning. But in two such similar stories, I think it's safe to say that the meaning is the same. The story in Judges ended differently though. The Levite sent his concubine outside and the men raped her all night. When they finally let her go, she stumbled to the old man's door and died. The Levite found her in the morning. He cut her body up in to 12 parts and sent them to each part of Israel. The Israelites gather and ask him what happened and he says:
" 'During the night the men of Gibeah came after me and surrounded the house,intending to kill me. They raped my concubine and she died.' "
He says that if they'd had the chance, they would have killed him in the same way they killed his concubine: by brutally raping him. So when Genesis 19:5 and Judges 19:22 both get translated as "have sex with", I don't think they're talking about consensual sex.
So I got just a tad bit highlighter happy with Isaiah today...
After a whole bunch of prophecy's about how God was going to destroy other nations and Israel itself and... just pretty unpleasant stuff, today Isaiah started talking about hope for God's people:
"Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her...
that her sin has been paid for."
Then, there's a bit of a prophecy about John the Baptist. And I have a bit of a soft spot for John the Baptist. This verse is actually quoted in the gospel of Mark:
"A voice of one calling:
'In the desert prepare
the way for the LORD;
make straight in the wilderness
a highway for our God."
Or alternatively, in the footnotes (and this is how it's written in Mark)
"A voice of one calling in the desert:
'Prepare the way for the LORD;
make straight the paths of our God."
Then we get some stuff about how powerful God is and how small we are. Some highlights for me were verses 6-8, 12-14, 21-22 and 26. But pretty much it's the whole chapter. I'm not going to write all of that out, but I liked reading them.
And then, just to finish things off, some more comfort. (This one always makes me think of Remember the Titans.)
"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on the wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
the will walk and not be faint."
... Like I said, just a little bit highlighter happy. I only highlighted about half of the chapter...
Mark 9:14-32 - "The Healing of a Boy With an Evil Spirit"
This one definitely spoke to me today. The boy's father asks Jesus to help his son "if he can." Jesus gets a bit sassy with his answer and says:
" 'If I can?' " said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."
And here's the part that seemed to be taken straight out of my own heart:
"Immediately the boy's father exclaimed, ' I do believe; help me to overcome my unbelief!' "
That's exactly it! That's exactly what I keep praying for! I need help overcoming my own unbelief! Thank You, God, for including that in Your word!