Gibeah—Displaying the Integrity of God Where It Isn’t

Atop the site of ancient Gibeah in Israel today stands the skeleton of a building. Although it marks the ambitions of a king who never occupied its halls, the structure reminds me of a deeper emptiness.

Gibeah—Displaying the Love of God Where It Isn't

(Photo: Gibeah. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In 1964 King Hussein of Jordan began constructing a palace on the site of ancient Gibeah. The Six-Day War in 1967 put a permanent halt to the construction. All that remains today are the empty ruins of his intentions.

When we read the book of Judges, repeatedly the book notes Israel had no king in those
 days (Judges 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). They had no one to model and impose a moral standard—and thus had none.

Like the skeleton that stands on Gibeah today, God’s people had the structure of God’s Law but it was empty in their lives.

Here’s how that emptiness needn’t be true of our lives today.

Gibeah Revealed the Lack God’s People Should Have Had

The book of Judges ends in Gibeah with a Levite who traveled the backbone of the hill country of Israel. His trip traced several cities along a ridge-road called the “Way of the Patriarchs.”

  • Leaving Bethlehem, he journeyed north from the tribe of Judah to the territory of Benjamin.
  • Crossing the border, the Levite’s servant pointed eastward and asked if they should stay the night in Jebus (Jerusalem).
  • Refusing, the Levite suggested they press on to Gibeah or even Ramah, saying, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners who are not of the sons of Israel” (Judg. 19:12).
The Levite's journey to Gibeah

(The Levite’s journey to Gibeah. Map courtesy of Satellite Bible Atlas)

The irony of his statement soon surfaces, as the debauched night they spend in the Israelite city of Gibeah rivals the decadence of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Sadly, in the place where the integrity of God should have shined, 
none existed whatsoever.

Gibeah Reveals the Integrity We Need in Our Lives

From ancient Israel to our lives today, there’s only one place a world empty of God will see the integrity of God.

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians—those who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable. —Brennan Manning

As God’s people today, we also live in a land without absolutes—a land as devoid of the integrity of God as the empty halls of King Hussein’s palace.

The empty halls of King Hussein's Palace atop ancient Gibeah

(Photo: The empty halls of King Hussein’s Palace atop ancient Gibeah. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In such a context, the striking distinction we should display should come from leading holy lives that reflect a holy God (Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:12). As we exhibit God’s character, we will provide a pathway to the haven people expect from Christians—and so desperately need.

We display God’s integrity not to impress people with our holiness but that we may point them to His. (Tweet that.)

Tell me what you think: What helps you display the integrity of God in a culture empty of His character? To leave a comment, just click here.

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This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible.

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