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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.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

Judges 17






Today we start a new story in this book of Judges.  This one has to do with a man named Micah as the central character.  As the story opens, the first thing we find Micah doing is admitting he had stolen 1,100 pieces of silver from his own mom.  His confession was not because of his fear of the Lord.  His confession was because of his fear of the curse his mom had uttered over the thief. 

It is interesting that when the woman found out what happened to her money, she changed her curse to a blessing over her son.  She did this in the covenant name of God.  Although she would have used the name Adonai because of the prohibition of speaking the actual covenant name of God, Yahweh, she nevertheless invoked God in her blessing.

The response to this was to take some of the silver that had been stolen and use it to make an idol for the home. Think about that.  A blessing was spoken in God’s name and then the family immediately resorted to idolatry. To make the story even weirder, Micah ordained one of his own sons to be the priest of the house and serve the multiple gods they had enshrined there.

The story takes another odd twist when a Levite from Bethlehem comes to Micah’s house.  Micah, after discovering that his guest was indeed a Levite, invited the man to take up residence there and become a priest for the family.

There are three main institutions that God has ordained in this world.  One of those is the family unit.  The second is the faith community.  In the Old Testament that would have been the nation of Israel.  In the New Testament that would be the church.  The third institution is human government.  But he family is the bedrock foundation of it all.

So, when the family unit begins to breakdown, everything else starts to collapse as well.  The family we encounter in this chapter is the textbook description of dysfunctional.  In fact, it is crazy to think about how many of God’s commandments they broke in this chapter. 

The next breakdown is mentioned in verse 6, where we read that everyone did what he wanted to do because there was no king.  In other words, the breakdown of the family led to the breakdown of human government. 

The third institution, the faith community, is seen breaking down when the Levite appears in the story.  To begin with he had been living in Bethlehem which was not a city set aside for Levites.  Second, although he was a Levite which meant he had important spiritual responsibilities in the nation, he was not a priest.  To take on the role of a priest was a horrific thing for this man to do.  In other words, we see the breakdown of the faith community in this part of this story.

Sometimes it is easy to misunderstand what is going on.  It is easy to blame the government’s lack of ability or the church’s lack of concern for the breakdown of our families and our homes.  But the reality is it is the breakdown of the family that impacts our government’s ability to govern well and our churches opportunity to minister well.  We must always work on the well-being and strength of the family.  Strong families always lead to productive government structures and healthy churches.  And productive government structures and healthy churches always create fertile ground for our families to grow even stronger.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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