God-Approved Goal

Judges 18:1-6

1In those days Israel had no king. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 2So the Danites sent five of their leading men from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy out the land and explore it. These men represented all the Danites. They told them, “Go, explore the land.” So they entered the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah, where they spent the night.

3When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they turned in there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?” 4He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, “He has hired me and I am his priest.” 5Then they said to him, “Please inquire of God to learn whether our journey will be successful.” 6The priest answered them, “Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.”

Introduction

As we look forward to New Year, people are challenged to set goals for the year 2019. Many goal-oriented people appear to be successful. And, others try also to be goal-oriented but we must admit that failures are not impossible.

If it is very tough to accept failures, preventive measure should be utilized.

Seek God-approved goals before planning or writing down goals. Why? If you are pursuing goals within God’s will, failures become motivations to keep on because you know that by God’s grace, you will be successful eventually.

It says in Proverbs 26:12, 12Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them.

How can people become wise in their own eyes? When we imitate how successful people set goals, we ignore our uniqueness. It’s foolishness to think that two individual persons can achieve the same feat or goal. Why? Accept that God created each person with unique ability, talent, and even destiny.

Don’t imitate goals. Imitate principles. And, it is much advisable to accept limitations and seek God’s guidance. It teaches in Psalm 19:7-8, 7The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

To abide in God’s instruction is to have joy in our hearts. Why? It is when we are led by the Spirit of Christ that we can abide in God’s word. Meaning: The Holy Spirit empowers us, and produces fruit of joy in us. Christ is the wisdom of God. We can become wiser when led by God’s Spirit even the simple person.

As Israel had no king in the time of Judges, they also did as they saw fit, but when the Danites sought a place to settle down, their goal was within God’s will. It was recorded in Numbers 26:52-53, 52The Lord said to Moses, 53“The land is to be allotted to them as an inheritance based on the number of names. 

So, it’s within God’s will for the Danites to seek the allotted land for their tribe. Men representing all the Danites inspected a land they can settle down.

1. Inspect

1In those days Israel had no king. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking a place of their own where they might settle, because they had not yet come into an inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 2So the Danites sent five of their leading men from Zorah and Eshtaol to spy out the land and explore it. These men represented all the Danites. They told them, “Go, explore the land.” So they entered the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah, where they spent the night.

When the Danites sent five of their leading men to inspect territories that were not occupied by other Israelite tribes, it implied that they were united in their pursuit for a larger territory to occupy. Why did the Danites have to relocate?

Remember that Samson came from a clan of the Danites. Previously, the Danites lived next to the Philistine territory. And, after Samson died with the Philistine rulers, did the Danites feel afraid that if ever the Philistines attack again they can’t secure their land? Without a strong leader like Samson, it’s possible!

Did God give the Danites a communal desire to explore and inspect the land in the north to find a larger territory? Before Samson, the Philistines harassed the Danites, it would have been very appropriate for them to escape and move north during the time but they did not. After the Philistines rulers died with Samson, they decided to move out when no enemy bothered them. Why?

Have you ever sensed in your life when everything in your place of work is just normal but you don’t feel comfortable with your situation? Is it God’s way to tell you to explore something? It says in Proverbs 20:24, 24A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand their own way?

Most often, young people are pressured to achieve things other people expected of them. There’s peer pressure or parent’s pressure. When classmates are attaining material success, there’s much pressure not be left behind, especially when one has been used to be an achiever in the class.

Basketball Player

In an annual Basketball Tournament sponsored by a popular Fastfood chain, a good basketball player was awarded co-MVP (Most Valuable Player with another player.) The judges cannot choose which player was better, so they decided to award the most coveted award to the two best players of the game.

Both co-MVP received good contracts in the NBA (National Basketball Association). Their respective teams hoped that their MVP status would translate to professional league. Five years later, other basketball players who participated in that annual tournament have become better professional players.

What happened? The co-MVPs maybe slow to adjust to professional level or their basketball skill was limited to non-professional. They were good at short term tournaments but not the best players with long term basketball in the NBA.

Not a few people were bright when they were still kids, brighter than their playmates but when they were exposed to wider range of competition, their brightness turns out to be at average level, and cannot be the best. There are also regular but resilient learners. They may not be the best among their peers but they can adjust much better to new environment or challenges of life.

It’s tempting to conclude too early or predict greatness but we really don’t know the destiny God has set for anybody. It’s much advisable to inquire of God.

2. Inquire

3When they were near Micah’s house, they recognized the voice of the young Levite; so they turned in there and asked him, “Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? Why are you here?” 4He told them what Micah had done for him, and said, “He has hired me and I am his priest.” 5Then they said to him, “Please inquire of God to learn whether our journey will be successful.” 6The priest answered them, “Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord’s approval.”

The Danites men recognized the young Levite. Meaning: He might have been serving as priest among them previously before he decided to seek another place to serve. When the men asked the Levite to inquire of God about their mission, it implies that they knew him fully well. They trusted that the Lord will speaks through him about their mission of exploring the land in the north.

Can we interpret that God moves in the heart of the young Levite to move out north earlier, so that he will become God’s instrument to confirm the Danites that their exploration mission would be successful? It says in 1 John 5:14-15, 14This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

Most people respond or react hastily to circumstances. When events don’t fit their world view, they are quick to change course without seeking the will of the Lord. Others are quick to judge events. It’s real in the 1st century Christianity.

It says in Acts 28:3-6, 3Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.” 5But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

It is tempting to judge quickly about circumstances but as believers, we need to be more anchored in the faith in the Lord. We have to sense the leading of the Holy Spirit before we conclude anything. The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9, 9The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?

Decision-making reveals spiritual temperature. Before we set our goals, we need to know the will of God to realign anything we may want to do or attain. God can fill us with spiritual wisdom and understanding, if we ask Him. Apostle Paul prays in Colossians 1:9, 9Ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.

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