Today’s Reading: Judges 17 & 18
Another Saturday, and then just one more before Easter! How quickly time passes! I trust that you are finding the energy to each day read the Bible portion for the day – or even better – jotting some notes down of what you notice is most meaningful to you! I was hoping to do the beautiful story of Ruth (which Jennifer had the privilege of doing!), but if the story of Samson which I found in some ways to be beautiful, (which Gordie did), is a step down from the quiet faithfulness of Ruth, then mine of Micah is right off the map of true faithfulness to our loving God!
The story starts simply with some stolen money that results in a mother getting upset and cursing because of it. She then finds to her astonishment that her son had taken it! Although it probably was good that she didn’t become very angry with her son, the turn in the story of her blessing her son and dedicating some of the money (!) to the creation of an idol, left me scratching my head! I certainly never would have guessed where the story would end up by the end of the chapter! But so is life! Mothers, beware! You have no idea what an important place you hold in the story of your family and those closest to you! Make good use of the time when your children are small, in teaching them to love our Heavenly Father (and not idols – what one craves for most in life!). The problem is, perhaps, that this kind of love is not taught by words ONLY, but by a loving example, to those who know you best and they can easily be led into a path of departure from the One Who loves us best. This path of departure is usually characterized by an example of frustration with them and others in your life and a life full of discontent over unmet worldly desires, leading to blatant disobedience!
So the idol is created and Micah uses his son to be a priest to it (did he learn that from his mother? But he also has his own responsibility!). And then when a Levite (someone who was really supposed to serve God), comes along, Micah is willing to pay the price to have a real semblance of reality for his idol! Maybe what I learn from this, is not only to beware of wandering Levites, but more to the point, don’t entertain ‘ a heart of unbelief in departing from the living God”! – (Heb. 3:12).
And then there is the tribe of Dan, who either didn’t want to or weren’t willing to fight for their inheritance. They were hoping for some easy conquest! (Is that like me wanting EASY Christianity and not wanting to pay the price for the change which should come with real Christianity in my life?). Well they found their easy conquest alright, but they also found Micah’s idol!
Sadly, the idol then proceeds to become an issue on a tribal level! People are drawn away as the whole tribe of Dan goes and starts worshiping idols, making them the centre of their lives, instead of going up to the place where the Lord chose to place His name. I quietly long to be always in the place where the Lord chooses for me to worship and in a place where He is found to be the centre of worship! – most likely from my experience, it won’t be a place where the false goal of perfection is idolized (an impossible goal!), but rather where people value the Lord Jesus for Himself and value His way of worshiping and following Him!
Something else that intrigued me, and was tucked away quietly in the middle of these verses, is the information that “Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land.” (Judges 18:30) I confess I am left shaking my head over how Moses has been roped into this sordid story of unfaithfulness! Not for a moment do I think it is Moses’ fault. However, I feel a deep sense of unease and sorrow that maybe in the next generation after me, through unforeseen circumstances, they will be drawn off course and become unfaithful to God. I pray that I will live the last few years that God gives me, to live my life in such a way that it does not become a factor in the next generation’s unfaithfulness but will leave a rich heritage and example for them to follow. It would hurt me a lot if my grandchildren were to become like this story, because I would want them to choose to blaze a glorious path of devotion and love for their Lord that in turn will bring great joy and happiness to His heart!
Whoever thought that the individualistic actions of simple people (not even leaders) would cause a whole tribe to be completely derailed in their search of the one true God. Unfortunately, they fell for the idol of an easy and comfortable life. The tribe of Dan was blinded to the fact that in reality they were lost and separated from the only real source of blessing and fulfillment which is found in a personal loving relationship with the One Who loved them with such a deep personal love!
In a hymn which I used to sing (and still love to sing), this is expressed for me in touching words that I enjoy. A prayerful plea:
HAVE I an object, Lord, below,
Which would divide my heart from Thee;
Which would divert its even flow
In answer to Thy constancy?
Oh, teach me quickly to return,
And cause my heart afresh to burn!