WEDNESDAY, MAY 9
SCRIPTURE: JUDGES 18
Today’s chapter is a continuation of the story that we started yesterday. The focus, however, is really on one of the tribes of Israel, Dan. Before we start looking at that, there is something I want to show you in verse 30. The Levite that showed up in at Micah’s house in the previous chapter and who will play a role in this chapter was named Jonathan. We also see that he is the son of Gershom and of Moses. Among other things, that means Jonathan was not of the lineage of Aaron which means he could not legitimately serve as a priest.
That will not stop him. Interestingly enough the same attitude of “I will do what I want to do regardless of what God says” will drive the tribe of Dan to do what they do in this chapter.
Of course all of that is set up with the first statement in this chapter: “In those days there was no king in Israel”. If the people of Israel including the tribe of Dan had accepted God as their supreme Ruler or King and His law as the law of the land, none of what happens in this chapter would have happened. But they obviously rejected God and His Word. That, by the way, never works out well.
As we get into the chapter we discover that the tribe of Dan had no inheritance of land in Canaan. It is important to remember, however, that they were given some choice territory in the Promised Land (Joshua 19:40-48) but they failed to defeat and dispose of the enemy that lived on that land. So, the fact that they had no inheritance was their own fault. At this point they had not been overlooked or ignored by God.
It is important to remember that the tribe of Dan did not possess the land they were given but instead would go on to take land that they had not been given. Among other things, this means they were out of God’s will. They were not where God wanted them which by the way is the reason a lot of us get in trouble.
Before we go further, I think we should take another look at Jonathan. There is at least one very valuable life lesson in his experience. That is once you have sold out it is really easy to continue to sell out. He had sold out to Micah in chapter 17. He sold out to the tribe of Dan in this chapter.
The army of Dan stole all of Micah’s idols and stuff. (That is a technical term.) Micah was obviously upset about that, got some friends to go with him, and caught up with the army to see about getting his stuff back. That didn’t go well and Micah returned home empty handed.
But he asked a most telling question as he was trying to get the Danite army to give his stuff back. In verse 24, he asked, “What have I left?” Think about this for a moment. If we worship the stuff we have and even the stuff that we have made with our own hands, it can all be taken away from us. But when we have committed our lives to God, He will never be taken away from us. In other words, if Micah had stayed faithful to the one, true God the answer to his question of “What have I left?” would be that he had God. And at the end of the day not only is God enough but also God is more than sufficient.
One last thing before we leave this chapter: the tribe of Dan was the first tribe in Israel to officially adopt an idolatrous system of religion. Later when the Kingdom of Israel was divided, golden calves were set up in Dan and the people of Israel turned away from God to worship idols there.