God is all or nothing. There is no second place for him. Your success in life might just be a red flag indicating that he has stopped intervening in your life. It is a paradox, there are many with God, that all the blessings in this world cause you to miss out on the eternal nature of who you are and where you are going. God relays this warning to us today through Micah in the book of Judges.
Judges Episode 1 and 2 Recap: Micah
In Judges we have a long story about the house of Micah and one of the families from the tribe of Dan. The story begins in chapter 17. Episode 1: Micah as a young man steals money from his mother. He returns the money to her and she uses some of it to make physical idols for him to worship. Episode 2: Micah meets a Levite, Levites are the priestly tribe of Israel, and Micah makes this Levite his household priest to watch over the idols that have been made.
Judges Episode 3: Great Sounding Lies
Chapter 18 Episode 3 is where we find ourselves at the moment. Scouts from the tribe of Dan cross the path of a Levite and they recognize him as a priest and fellow Israelite far from home. They ask him a question.
And they said to him, “Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed.” Judges 18:4 ESV
Tribe of Dan Where is God?
The tribe of Dan had been given an inheritance by Joshua but something happened and they lost the land (Joshua 19:40-48). They are looking for a new place to live and are scouting out a place to settle. What then would God want? Where is the Lord who promised them land and had given them an inheritance? One would think they would have asked these questions before sending out a scouting party. However, we find these scouts encountering a priest and asking this question for the first time. “Will this journey be successful?”
God is Not on This Journey
This priest is not a godly man. Judges tells us he is well-paid and well cared for by Micah. This preist is one who knows how to say the things everyone wants to hear. He is a likable person sharing to the scouts what is already in their hearts. His response is nothing better than a fortune cookie. Continue on in your quest and don’t even bother to think about God or what he might want of you.
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV
Wandering into Feel Good Myths
The tribe of Dan has no real regard for God any more than this Levite priest has regard for God. Together both priest and people have turned away from “truth and wander off into myths.”
Missing is the King’s Leadership
In the past God has sent oppression so the people would turn to him and cry out recognizing their need. That oppression has come in the form of the Philistines and God when the people turned back to him provided a judge to rescue them in the form of a Samson. Yet this time God is curiously no where to be found. Judges 18 opens with there is no King and we know it is not talking about a man but the true King God. For the lives of these people of God there is no God. They worship idols and they worship a myth of God to their own liking but they do not yield to the true King of Kings.
For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Matthew 5:45 ESV
Turned Over to Selfishness
The people have entered a time of the worst possible place to be. A place where God has withdrawn and everyone is left to pursue their own selfish desires. Paul calls this a time when God turns us over to our base desires and lets society run wild with all kinds of evil perversions.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 ESV
Judges Episode 4: Take What You Want
Back to the story in Judges chapter 18 we come to episode 4 where the scouts now with an army are on their way to kill an innocent town. Judges tells us that they first stop a Micah’s house to steal all his idols of worship. And when the Levite who has been paid by Micah and has served Micah’s house is made an offer to upgrade his job employment this Priest gladly jumps in to help steal all of these idols.
19 And they said to him, “Keep quiet; put your hand on your mouth and come with us and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel?” 20 And the priest’s heart was glad. He took the ephod and the household gods and the carved image and went along with the people. Judges 18:19-20 ESV
God’s Way is Not Easy
Dear reader where are you? Is your life centered around the God of the Bible or have you wandered off into myths? Following God is difficult. In these episodes when the scouts came the priest should have given the truth that they should return home actually seek God’s will for them. But that news would have been painful and would not have been well received. It would also have been unprofitable to the priest. God’s will is many times unprofitable in worldly terms. Christ by way of the Holy Spirit may ask you to walk away from relationships or a job because they are not true and they are destructive to your soul.