God Consents

Judges 18:22-31

22When they had gone some distance from Micah’s house, the men who lived near Micah were called together and overtook the Danites. 23As they shouted after them, the Danites turned and said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you that you called out your men to fight?” 24He replied, “You took the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have? How can you ask, ‘What’s the matter with you?’” 25The Danites answered, “Don’t argue with us, or some of the men may get angry and attack you, and you and your family will lose your lives.” 26So the Danites went their way, and Micah, seeing that they were too strong for him, turned around and went back home.

27Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. 28There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob. The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. 29They named it Dan after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel—though the city used to be called Laish. 30There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and 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. 31They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.

Commandments

An online discussion whether the Ten Commandments is relevant or not to Christian living exposes a person understanding of God’s grace and God’s Laws. By grace, we are saved. God’s laws help realize our sinfulness. By faith in Christ, salvation by God’s grace has taken place. l

As believers saved by grace, our lifestyle is not opposed to but in harmony with the commandments of God. To disobey God’s commandment is submission to sin. It does not reflect love for Christ. In 1 John 2:3-5, 3We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. 4Whoever says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. 5But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. 

The Lord, who gave the commandment in the Old Testament, is the same Christ who was born in human form. By faith in Christ, His Spirit empowers us to obey His commands. Obedience to God practically proves our salvation.

Yet, believers still have tendencies to disobey the Lord’s commands, right?

It is very helpful to study the lifestyle of the Israelites, how God rewarded them when they obeyed, and dealt with accordingly when they disobeyed. And for greater purposes of His plan, God consented their mischief and escapades.

When God chose the Israelites as a nation belonging to the Lord, it was not because they were perfect and righteous. The Israelites were stubborn and prone to complain and rebellion but God preferred them anyway. It teaches in Romans 3:9, 9Jews and Gentiles alike are all under the power of sin.

God chose us also not because of our capabilities or abilities but because it is His prerogative. He decides to chose whoever or whatever He wishes to choose. When the Danites took the idols of Micah, did God approve it? When Micah did not continue to fight for his right against the Danites, did God consent the Danites to warn, force or constrain Micah not to fight or argue with them?

1. Constrain

22When they had gone some distance from Micah’s house, the men who lived near Micah were called together and overtook the Danites. 23As they shouted after them, the Danites turned and said to Micah, “What’s the matter with you that you called out your men to fight?” 24He replied, “You took the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have? How can you ask, ‘What’s the matter with you?’” 25The Danites answered, “Don’t argue with us, or some of the men may get angry and attack you, and you and your family will lose your lives.” 26So the Danites went their way, and Micah, seeing that they were too strong for him, turned around and went back home.

When the men who lived near Micah joined him to follow and pursue the Danites, it illustrated that Micah must have been very influential among his neighbor. They shouted at the Danites ready to fight. They were waiting for Micah’ signal to attack the Danites. But Micah was constrained not argue his cause when he realized that the Danites were too strong for their number.

Micah accumulated much wealth, and the idols he made may have been the source of his pride. His neighbors recognized his influence and wanted to please him when they joined him. It’s beneficial to befriend powerful people.

It says in Proverbs 14:20, 20The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends.

In Proverbs 19:4, 4Wealth attracts many friends, but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.

And still in Proverbs 19:7, 7The poor are shunned by all their relatives— how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.

Material wealth has its practical benefits but to be proud of it is not beneficial. The Lord allowed the Danites to take the idols of Micah away as object lesson that idols are not worth keeping.

But why did God allow the Danites to use the idols of Micah later on?

Why did God let the Danites conquered Laish when they have idols?

2. Conquer

27Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. 28There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob. The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. 29They named it Dan after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel—though the city used to be called Laish.

The Danites were on their way to conquer Laish. When they invited the young Levite to be their priest, it was a good decision but they were tempted and took the idols of Micah. Such is a situation when God consents His people to do mischievousness that can be relevant for teaching purposes. How?

Micah may have learned that idols are not worth keeping. And the Danites showed their ferocity when Micah confronted them. Their hearts and minds were prepared for their mission to attack and invade Laish. They were destructive. If they were polite and respectful, they may not attack or conquer Laish, right?

Did God consent their attitude to accomplish His purposes? Many things that the Lord consented the Israelites to do are not acceptable to observers but God allowed them any way. There are also things we may do as believers that are not in compliance with God’s will or divert our focus from Him.

There are also things to be sacrificed for the greater accomplishment of God’s purposes. This is why we always need the Holy Spirit to teach us how we may respond in specific situations to avoid confusion of interpretations. Teaching Micah that idols are not worth keeping but consenting the Danites to keep the idols of Micah seems contradictory but actually relevant and appropriate. How?

 30There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and 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. 31They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.

Was Jonathan son of Gershom, the same young Levite who formerly served as Micah’s priest? Or did he die and Moses grandson took over?

Shiloh was about 30 kilometers north of Jerusalem and Laish was more or less 100 kilometers north of Shiloh. Travelling from Laish to Shiloh was not safe at that time. Did the Danites use Micah’s idols in their worship of God?

Maybe Micah’s idols served as reminder but not necessarily the object of worship just like some religions that have carved images of saints.

Are there reminders of our worship of God that are not biblical?

There are groups that require women members to wear white dress and long hair, men to wear necktie, white shirt, black pants, suspenders, mustache and beards during worship. Others have church buildings as identification of their denomination. No command to do such and no command not to do either.

Crystal Cathedral

If you were to give an opinion, do you like to have a church building like the Crystal Cathedral? The Crystal Cathedral is a reflective glass building and the largest glass building in the world. Until 2013, the building was the principal place of worship for Crystal Cathedral Ministries, a congregation founded by Robert H. Schuller. Crystal Cathedral Ministries filed for bankruptcy, sold the building and its adjacent campus to the Roman Catholic and is renamed Christ Cathedral.

Why did God allow the Crystal Cathedral Ministries to be bankrupt? Why did God consent the Roman Catholics to purchase and use it for their activities?

Was God teaching the former congregation that luxurious buildings are not a necessity for effective gospel ministries?

Did God consent the Roman Catholics to purchase the Crystal Cathedral as testimony that they are still relevant to Christianity?

God teaches and consents things beneficial to His purposes.

><(((‘> … ><(((‘> tmec\2019 <‘)))>< … <‘)))><

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.