Bible Readings for August 4th
Judges 18 opens with a repetition of the first half of the theme verse of Judges: “In those days there was no king in Israel” (Judg. 18:1). Little by little, bit by bit, Israel is descending further into sin, idolatry, and rebellion as they forsake Yahweh to do whatever is right in their own eyes. In Judges 18, that downward slide increases in speed.
Now, it is important to understand that the Danites are doing the right thing in seeking their inheritance (Judg. 18:1). Joshua had originally assigned to them an area for an inheritance (Josh. 19:40–48), but they had apparently lost control of the land. We had actually read a summary of Judges 18, learning that Dan would fight against Laish (also called Leshem), back in Joshua 19:47: “When the territory of the people of Dan was lost to them, the people of Dan went up and fought against Leshem, and after capturing it and striking it with the sword they took possession of it and settled in it, calling Leshem, Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor.”
But, while the Danites are spying out the land in order to find a suitable place to conquer and claim for their inheritance, they discover Micah and the Levite who served Micah as priest. This encounter gives them a wicked idea—why should Micah have this priest all to himself? Wouldn’t it be useful if they had a priest for their tribe? So, the Danites steal not only all the idols from Micah’s house but the priest as well.
While this seems like a good idea to everyone involved (other than Micah; Judg. 18:24), it is a situation that Yahweh has forbidden. Yahweh had commanded that only specific Levites (the sons of Aaron) should serve him as priests, and yet this Levite was a descendent of Moses and Moses’s son Gershom (Judg. 18:30; cf. Ex. 18:3), not Aaron. Furthermore, Yahweh had commanded that his priests serve him in his tabernacle. His priests were not for hire by individuals or even by tribes. This was a reprehensible corruption of the worship that Yahweh had commanded, and now the corruption had spread from a single individual, Micah, to an entire tribe.
And while no great consequence has arisen yet, sin always begets more sin—and along with more sin comes more suffering. As you meditate on this passage, remember the words of Paul in Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” In tomorrow’s reading, Israel will reap the harvest of their sin. Today, then, think through your own life: Are you allowing to remain in your life sin that is slowly gaining greater influence over you? What will you reap tomorrow from your actions today?
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.