17. HAVING NO CLEAR LEADER IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.
Judges 17:6 - "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes" (cf. 21:25).
In truth, they had a leader--God. But His position as their leader wasn't clear in their minds, and they each followed their own wants and desires. Those today who fail to remember who their real leader is (in every aspect) are bound to make a mess of their lives.
18. BEING PARTIALLY FAITHFUL GIVES SOME A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY.
Judges 17:12,13 - "So Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and lived in the house of Micah. Then Micah said, 'Now I know that the LORD will be good to me, since I have a Levite as priest.'"
When I say "partially faithful," I simply mean that at least Micah was using a Levite for a priest now (which was closer than he was before but still not correct). He evidently had doubts before but now has assured himself that God will be pleased because he has a Levite! His reasoning is flawed; he has deceived himself. A man who makes his own idols and sets up his own priest without divine authority is a rebel. Friends, how many today have a false sense of security? They feel confident in their religion because they go to church periodically or because they don't steal or curse or cheat on their mate, etc. They feel good in obeying some of God's word, while rejecting other relevant portions. There is only one way to have real security--be faithful to God in all things and rely upon His grace (cf. Rev. 2:10)!
19. DEFENDING RELATIVES OR FRIENDS WHO ARE IN SIN IS A MISTAKE.
Judges 20:13,14 - "'Now therefore, deliver up the men, the perverted men who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove the evil from Israel!' But the children of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brethren, the children of Israel."
There was no defense for what the perverts of Gibeah had done, and the tribe of Benjamin should have cooperated with the rest of the nation and avoided this conflict. Instead they stood up for those in error merely because of their close relationship to them. That ended up being a costly mistake and one that we should avoid. Stand up for what is right and stand against what is wrong, regardless of who is involved. Let us use our relationships to persuade others to do what is right, not embolden them in their errors!
20. SOMETIMES IT HURTS TO DO THE RIGHT THING, BUT DO IT ANYWAY.
Judges 21:15 - "And the people grieved for Benjamin, because the LORD had made a void in the tribes of Israel."
Due to their sin, the tribe of Benjamin was cut down by their brethren to 600 males (cf. 20:47), and this made the other tribes sad. They did the right thing but it was painful to them. Doing the right thing today is sometimes heartbreaking (e.g., administering discipline, saying no to temptations, etc.). But we must do the right thing regardless of the cost.