It ought to be a warning to us when everyone is saying good things to us and about us. Jesus said in Luke 6:26 – “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets.” Of course, we ought to seek a good testimony, and we ought to have an honorable reputation to most. The Gospel is divisive though, and a Gospel proclaiming and practicing individual invite persecution into their life.
There are preachers today who are seeking acceptance from others more than approval from God. Their sole purpose in life seems to be the praise of man. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like confrontation and I will do just about anything to avoid someone being upset at me. The reality is that my objective and calling has a lot to do with obedience to the Lord, and little to do with appeasing everyone.
In Judges, we have reached the point where weird stories arise to the surface. Micah’s prophet is one of those cautionary tales that often gets overlooked, but there is so much truth contained in it. Micah hired a private priest to perform private services for him in his private home. The problem with this is that it goes against everything God told them to do. Not only were they doing things wrong by having this private priest, but they had idols and wrong practices. Everything about what is going on is off and weird.
It might help if we understand Micah’s motive in wanting a private priest. It really all comes down to convenience. Micah obviously was very “religious”. He built a shrine, had idols, and even was paying a full-time priest. But Micah wanted to worship God on his own terms and in his own ways. This Levite afford him the opportunity to serve God his way.
When the men from Dan come, they are intrigued by the idea of a personal priest. He inquires of the Lord for them, and they decide to give a positive report of going into battle because, in part, of this Levites blessing. Five hundred Danites show up at Micah’s house, and just move the religious stuff out and tell the Levite he is coming with them. At first he seems alarmed and concerned, but then they tell him that his congregation size is going from one to thousands and he is okay with the move. This reveals a lot about the Levites motive and attitude.
The Levite never was a true servant of God, otherwise he would have never taken the position. He wanted the salary, and when a greater opportunity came along, he jumped on it. His motivation was greed and pride.
There are so many lessons to be learned from this passage:
First, religious activity, no matter how sincere, if not in accord with God’s commandments is wrong. God will not accept “our” method of worship and service. We must do it God’s way.
Second, wrong thinking usually will lead to wrong activity. Everyone wanted to worship their own way, and wanted to hear what they wanted to hear. The priest was happy to be that guy, and everyone wanted him. Their thinking was off, and this Levite was unwilling to set it straight to the Word of God. Instead he tickled their ears and told them everything they wanted to hear. We need to be careful of offering up what we think others what to hear. We also need to be cautious not to surround ourselves with people who agree with everything we think and do. Instead surround yourself with people who encourage you in the things and ways of God.
Third, when approval from others is all that matters, we will dip our colors. No doubt this Levi had some understanding of the Law. There is a reason everyone wanted him. Somewhere along the line he made a choice to do what others wanted of him instead of what God wanted.
Daily Scripture Reading
Judges 16 - 18
“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”