Part of God’s Will

Judges 18:7-10

7So the five men left and came to Laish, where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure. And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous. Also, they lived a long way from the Sidonians and had no relationship with anyone else.

8When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, “How did you find things?” 9They answered, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over. 10When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever.”

Introduction

What is your personal opinion or observation of God’s will? When we talk about God’s will, what is it that instantly comes to your mind? What do you normally think of when the topic is about the will of God? Can you picture material prosperity or provision in your mind? Do you sincerely and completely believe that God is concerned about material prosperity and provision?

When the Lord selected the nation of Israel to be His chosen people among many other nations, He showed them His love and care. He was not only concerned about their spiritual being but He also promised to bless them in many practical ways for the betterment of their life. Of course, there were stipulations and decrees included for His promises to materialize as He promised.

It says in Deuteronomy 30:7-10, 7The Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies who hate and persecute you. 8You will again obey the Lord and follow all his commands I am giving you today. 9Then the Lord your God will make you most prosperous in all the work of your hands and in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your land. The Lord will again delight in you and make you prosperous, just as he delighted in your ancestors,  10if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commands and decrees that are written in this Book of the Law and turn to the Lord your God with all your  heart and with all your soul.

The generation who personally heard this promises of God through Moses have died. And after Samson died, the generation of Danites who were still searching for their tribal territory may have heard about God’s promises, and expect that God’s promise of prosperity and provision were still true to them.

1. Prosperity

7So the five men left and came to Laish, where they saw that the people were living in safety, like the Sidonians, at peace and secure. And since their land lacked nothing, they were prosperous. Also, they lived a long way from the Sidonians and had no relationship with anyone else.

Not knowing which way to proceed, the five men from Dan came to Laish, and the prosperity of the city caught their attention. They saw an opportunity favorable to them when they also observed that they can easily conquer the city. Laish was isolated and not allied with other nations whatsoever. They knew it?

Did God lead them to find the city of Laish? Who told them to go there?

Previously, the five men from the tribe of Dan asked a young Levite to inquire of the Lord about their mission. The young Levite told them that their journey was going to be successful. Assured of their success, they may not be very sure which way to proceed, yet they came to the city of Laish subsequently.

Laish was located approximately more about 50 kilometers north of the Sea of Galilee and 35 kilometers east of Tyre or Mediterranian Sea next to the territory of Napthalai at southwest and the half-tribe of Manasseh at southeast.

Interestingly, Laish was also located on the western part of Bashan area.

Why was Bashan important to the tribe of Dan when the southern part of Bashan was already occupied by the half-tribe of Manasseh? Does it prove that God lead the 5 Danite men to find their way to the city of Laish west of Bashan?

Before the Israelites entered Canaan, the Lord spoke through Moses and told them what they may expect in Canaan. Before the Danites occupied the city of Laish near Bashan, it has been recorded in Deuteronomy 33:22, 22About Dan he said: “Dan is a lion’s cub, springing out of Bashan.”

Do you believe that Moses was a prophet of God? Certainly! Prophet spoke of God’s words and Moses spoke the words of the Lord about the tribe of Dan. When God speaks, it may come in some form encouragement but actually, God’s words include things He wanted us to experience within His will.

Day of the BadMan

An old movie featured a judge who wanted to sentence a killer to die. The powerful relatives of the outlaw intimidated the residents of the town to pressure the judge to decide otherwise. Leaders of the town were scared of their life and their family, and they told the judge that it’s not worth to punish the criminal if the people of the town would be suffer in the hands of the outlaw’s relatives. All the more the judge became firm in his decision to give the right punishment.

Many believers can be easily intimidated and threatened when safety of family members is at stake. It is hard to make decisions because we don’t even know what the future brings. Most of the time, we decide based on what we practically see. We need to seek God’s guidance to decide right within His will.

It says in Jeremiah 10:23-24, 23Lord, I know that people’s lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. 24Discipline me, Lord, but only in due measure—not in your anger, or you will reduce me to nothing.

The Danites’ decision to find a territory they can call their own was within God’s will. They saw prosperity and provision in Laish, and decided to conquer it.

2. Provision

8When they returned to Zorah and Eshtaol, their fellow Danites asked them, “How did you find things?” 9They answered, “Come on, let’s attack them! We have seen the land, and it is very good. Aren’t you going to do something? Don’t hesitate to go there and take it over. 10When you get there, you will find an unsuspecting people and a spacious land that God has put into your hands, a land that lacks nothing whatever.”

The 5 Danite men who were tasked to search for a land they may occupy were very much enthusiastic of the favorable opportunity they have observed. They told their fellow Danites to attack Laish immediately. There’s no hint of fear, no shade of pessimism but a lot of optimism that they can conquer Laish easily.

When God sends us for a mission, there will certainly be many challenges that we can encounter along the way but we can be very encouraged that our mission will turn successful according to God’s plan. How?

When the 5 Danites men observed the prosperity in Laish, they were also united in their assessment of abundant provision, and they concluded that Laish lacks nothing whatever.  Provision and prosperity may have been the needs that motivated the Danites and explored the land in search for a place to live.

They decided to abandon their land in Zorah and Eshtaol, why?

A threat from the Philistines may have prevented them to prosper, to grow their plants or vineyard. The Philistines may have often destroyed their properties and livestock which discourage them and decided not to stay there any longer.

Similarly, the Lord may allow us to explore other options to meet some form of practical needs, psychological needs or self-fulfillment needs.

For practical needs, it could be searching for better employment or safer environment. For psychological need, it could be friendship or the feeling of accomplishment. For self-fulfillment, it includes legacy or exploring of potentiality.

The Lord promised to meet those needs when He said in Mark 10:27-30, 27“All things are possible with God.” 28Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” 29“Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 

Christ actually has promised more than provision that parents, children, or siblings can offer us. He promised to provide more than assets or ability to sustain us. One may have acquired every practical thing a person can attain but still searching for rest. Why? He said in Matthew 11:28-30, 28“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

The term “rest” is also properly translated as “recreation.” Taking His yoke is abiding in His words. ‘Rest’ and ‘recreation’ are included when we obey Him. That was why Christ obeyed the will of His Father. As we grow stronger in our faith in Christ, we will find that there’s rest and recreation in obeying His will.

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