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Judges 17:1-13

 

“And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 2 And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, I took it.  And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son. 3 And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image:  now therefore I will restore it unto thee. 4 Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image:  and they were in the house of Micah. 5 And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. 6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but  every man did that which was right in his own eyes. 7 And there was a young man out of Bethlehem-judah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. 8 And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehem-judah to sojourn where he could find a place:  and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. 9 And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou?  And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehem-judah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place. 10 And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals.  So the Levite went in. 11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons. 12 And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13 Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.”

 

Introduction

 

[Audio version: https://resources.ccphilly.org/detail.asp?TopicID=&Teaching=WED640]

 

“We’re in Judges chapter 17, I’m going to read a few verses from 2nd Timothy, it’s just on my heart, I did a graduation, I had this portion at a pastor’s conference a week or two ago, it’s been stuck there, and it kind of describes the conditions that we see in the Book of Judges.  There is a challenge to us, Paul says to Timothy, and it’s his swan song, it’s the last things he’s having to say to the Church, 2nd Timothy chapter 3:1-5 says “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come,” and certainly to the apostles the last days began with Christ’s death and resurrection.  But they certainly have intensified, as anybody whose thinking would realize in the days that we live.  “in the last days perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof, from such turn away.”  Paul says the Spirit is saying expressly that the last days, the culture, the times in the end-days would be characterized by all of these things that lie between love of self and love of pleasure.  He lays out a whole litany of things, but he begins with love of self, self-love, again which has become a virtue in our culture, it wasn’t Biblically that’s for sure.  But self-love, then he says covetousness, which is literally “silver-love, money-love” which of course comes fast on the heels of self-love all of the time.  Boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, interesting, without natural affection, is astergie, “without any family love,” literally, that’s what the word means, no family-love, no longer esteeming the love between a husband and a wife, we can’t figure out what marriage is these days.  No longer esteeming the love between a parent and a child, between a brother and sister, no family-love, that’s one word, without natural affection.  “Truce breakers, false accusers,” “diabolos,” the enemy there.  Incontinent, means no self-control, fierce, the only time used in the New Testament.  When you challenge people about these things, if they’re not on the same page, they become fierce, is how they become.  “Despisers of those that are good,” one word again, no love for that which is good is the word, one word.  “Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”  It’s interesting as you look through that list, five times we hear about love of self, love of money, no love of family, no love of that which is good, love of pleasure rather than lovers of God, the issue as we go through there is a heart problem, it’s a problem of affection, of love.  It isn’t a mental argument, it is a desire argument, the problem is a heart problem throughout, that would characterize the last days.  And added to that, what makes it dangerous for you and I, why we’re warned, it says they have a form, amophorphe of religion, they’re going to be in the Church, it isn’t just looking outside at what’s going on out there.  The danger is this is going to be something that’s going on inside the Church, as a form of religion, but denies the power of it.  And you have to understand, I believe it’s on the heart of Jesus Christ, as the Spirit inspires Paul to write this, the Lord died for those who are self-lovers and money lovers and traitors and heady and high-minded, who have no family love, the Lord died for them, and he loves them, so he hates a form of religion that denies the power, because he knows there is power to transform the lives of those who are self-lovers and money lovers, with no natural affection, traitors, heady, high-minded, that was all of us, and the Lord knows that in the true Gospel, and Paul says ‘I’m not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it is power of God unto salvation,’ that there is a greater danger to have a form of religion, a religious club that denies the power, that denies the power.  Because all of those things can be changed, people can be set free of all of those things, there is power to transform lives.  And it says ‘from such turn away.’  There’s two imperatives here, ‘this know, you have to know this,’ it isn’t an option, it’s not a suggestion, ‘you have to know this, this is what’s going to happen in the last days,’ and the next imperative is ‘from such you have to turn away,’ it’s not your option, don’t try to be nice, ‘you turn and continually turn away from those who demand that fact that they can have a form of religion, but without lifechanging power,’ that’s not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  He says ‘from this sort are they that creep into houses and lead captive silly women’ girls settle down till we get through this, ‘laden with sins,’ by the way, it's a neuter diminutive, it’s not feminine there, it’s a form of content in the culture.  One translator I read called it “womanlings,” one said “these are silly women of both sexes, that that’s what Paul is talking about here, creeping in to those who just cower, who don’t stand up, who don’t know what the truth is, it says ‘They’re ever learning, never coming to a knowledge of the truth, and as Jannes and Jambres,’ two magicians the Talmud tells us about ‘that withstood Moses, these also resist The Truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate, have been tested, been found wanting concerning the faith.’  Moses was saying, “Let my people go,”  and Jannes and Jambres were standing up to the truth of the fact that God was able to redeem his people and lead them out of Egypt, which he did by the blood of a lamb.  And he said in the last days there will be those, like Jannes and Jambres, who withstand the truth, who stand up in your face to oppose the truth, there are those who want the form of religion, but they don’t want the power of it, because if you embrace the whole thing, your life has to change, and they don’t want to hear about it.   And our study tonight in the Book of Judges is much like that.  It is a time, it says, when there was no king in Israel, and every man was doing what was right in his own eyes.  Not what was wrong in his own eyes, it says they were exceedingly evil in the sight of the LORD, but it was right in their own eyes, they were determining what was right and what was wrong.  And we came to the end of the life of Samson last week, but chapters 17 through 21 now are an appendix, they’re an epilogue, and they give us the condition of the days that were there during the judges, in the family, in the home, in society, in religious Israel, in the culture, a picture of insanity, and this is at least 200 years before Samson, the pictures that we’re receiving, very early in the Book of Judges, and it gives us the whole setting that these would be the days.  And they’re much like the days that we’re living in today. 

 

Religious Disobedience, Nothing More Confusing Than That

And Here’s A Wonderful Little ‘Religious’ Family To Look At

 

“And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.  And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.  And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son.” (verses 1-2)  This is just a strange jumping in here. ‘Mom, you know about the 1,100 shekels of silver that disappeared, about which you cursed whoever took it?  And then you spoke to me about it, also, behold, the silver is with me, I took it.’  ‘And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD my son.’  So we start out in a very strange circumstance.  This guy’s name is Micah, which is “who is like the LORD.”  Ah, his mom, evidently, and dad have taught some religious influence without reality, the form of religion with no power, named their son Micah, we got a cussin’ mom and a thieving son to start out right off the bat.  And it sets the stage, this is in a family, and as the family goes so goes the nation, as the home goes so goes society.  We have this interesting picture, this man named Micah, a godly name, he is in this home where his mother pronounces a curse on somebody for stealing 1,100 pieces of silver, which no doubt is a good bit of money.  And then he comes and says ‘Mom, I  took it.’  Now we’re not told, but it seems like he was afraid when she pronounced the curse on whoever took it, that he’d be under it.  So he comes to her and he fesses up.  And then his mother said “Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son.” that’s Jehovah [Yahweh, YHVH], capital L, capital O, capital R, capital D, “Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son.”  She tries, evidently to remove the curse by pronouncing a blessing on him now.  “And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image:  now therefore I will restore it unto thee.” (verse 3)  ‘It had been my decision to give this whole batch of money to the LORD, to Jehovah from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image, I wanted to give the whole smutz to the LORD, Jehovah, to make a graven image and a molten image, now therefore I will restore it unto thee.’  Religious disobedience, nothing more confusing than that, a home where people are cussing, a home where people are stealing, and they’re talking about the LORD at the same time, there isn’t anything that confuses the next generation more than that, nothing.  [Roman Catholicism + the Mob, “the Godfather” comes to mind.]  And there isn’t anything more dangerous than something that has the form of religion, but denies the lifechanging power of it.  And we see it here, Paul had said to Timothy, ‘You know, you’ve known the Scriptures from a child, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation,’ he was talking about the Old Testament Scriptures, they didn’t have the New Testament when Paul was writing his Epistles.  And there are lessons in here for us, we know that.  Look, very interesting, if you turn over to chapter 18, look at the last verse, because it sets the contrast between “a man of Ephraim named Micah” and the last verse says  “And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made,” look what it says “all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.” (verse 31)  Micah is from Ephraim, Shiloh was in Ephraim.  And we’re going to hear this incredible record of insanity, in the home, and then in the culture and everything.  And it just quietly says ‘and in all the while, the Tabernacle was in Shiloh,’ the house of God was there, quietly, faithfully there, the Urim and Thummim were there, the priests were there, the Testimony, the Tabernacle and the Testimony was there, when all of this other insanity is going on.  So she had pronounced a curse, so she pronounces a blessing, she’s going to take the money and dedicate it to the LORD, it says “wholly dedicated,” dedicated the LORD by making graven images and molten images, “now therefore I will restore it unto thee.”  And look, “his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image:  and they were in the house of Micah.” (verse 4)  She just said ‘I am wholly going to dedicate the silver to the LORD,’ and within one verse she decided ‘Ah, two hundred from eleven hundred, she’s down 900 already.’  ‘She took 200 shekels of silver, gave them to the founder, the smith, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image, and they were in the house of Micah.’  “And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and a teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became a priest.” (verse 5)  a shrine, a pagan shrine, he made an ephod, which he shouldn’t have done, it was the vest that the priest wore, it was only for the priest [high priest] at Shiloh, and teraphim, which were little idols to put on your shelf, “and consecrated one of his sons,” I don’t know who he thinks he is [sounds like Roman Catholicism on steroids], the son of a gun here, “and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.”  Now look, how many commandments are broken in the first couple verses here?  “I’m the LORD thy God, thou shalt have no other gods before me,”  “thou shalt not make any graven image,” “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain,” “Honour your mother and your father,” that’s out the window here, “Thou shalt not covet,” “Thou shalt not steal,” it’s probably at least 8 out of the 10 Commandments just obliterated here in the first few verses, and there’s no sense of it.  This is like turning on the television or listening to people on a talk show, you sit there for 15 minutes, and 8 of the 10 Commandments are obliterated, and we don’t even think about it, because it’s become normal, we have this idea that there’s a normalcy to it.  It’s not normal, it’s not normal.  You know, I was talking to Mark Abrams on Mother’s Day in North Philly, and they got all of these bags, and they had 250 moms and grandmoms coming who don’t normally come to church, and they gave all of them a gift bag, and some of them wept, and said ‘This is the first time in my life anybody’s ever given me a Mother’s Day present.’  That was normal to them, that’s not normal, that’s not normal.  You know Buddy Rock’s ministry down on Kensey and Somerset, the worst drug corner in the United States of America, on Christmas Eve they fed 425 families.  He said one mom came, Christmas Eve, snow and ice on the ground, holding two little babies with runny noses, no shoes on, in her bare feet, to come and get food.  And in there, there’s a culture developed, that’s normal.  That’s not normal.  It’s not normal to have so many drug pushers and so much abuse between husbands and wives to have life so insane that you just accept that.  But the Gospel of Jesus Christ breaks down those cultural things, and sets the captives free (cf. Luke 4:16-19), it’s the Gospel  of Jesus Christ that has the power to break those things down.  Here’s a culture, here's a culture where this is normal, Oh ya, the LORD, I stole the money mom, freaked me out a little when I heard you pronounce a curse on me,’ ‘O then blessed are you of Jehovah my son, no problem, I’m gonna give the whole smutz to the LORD anyhow, to make some graven images and molten images, so here’s 200 shekels of silver, I’ll keep my 900, you go and do that,’ and he said, ‘Alright, that’s great,’ and then he goes and makes his little shrine he’s got going already, he’s got some molten images and stuff, and he says ‘Why don’t I take one of my sons, I’ll consecrate him so I can have my own priest, and I got an ephod here and all kinds of things going on,’ and there’s a wonderful little religious family, gathered together on the fringe of eternity.  And everything they’re doing in their spiritually weird little world, to them, somehow is normal.  I don’t think there’s anything normal about it at all.  Look what it says in verse 6, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”  Word of God rejected, Word of God available, Word of God rejected.  No king in Israel, look, we should never say that, we’re supposed to pray every day “Thy Kingdom Come,” we’re praying to our Father, but also to our King, we have a King.  Do we really have a King, do we think in terms of that, his Kingdom and the Word that he’s given us?  (What is that coming Kingdom all about?  Want to know?  See  https://www.unityinchrist.com/kingdomofgod/MillennialKingdomofGod.pdf)  What do we believe about it, nice book on the shelf, I’ll make my own little teraphim and I’ll make my own little idols, or do we believe that his Word is inerrant, God breathed?  That the words of God actually got through the writers onto the page.  If we believe in inerrancy, it’s not enough for us to walk around saying ‘Oh I believe in inerrancy,’ because you can’t have inerrancy without authority.  If you believe that it is as miraculous as it is, and it’s alive and powerful, and divides down into a human being even between the soul and spirit,  then you have to believe it has authority, and if you believe it has authority, do you believe it’s sufficient?  There’s inerrancy, there’s authority, it’s sufficient.  It’s sufficiency, it does it all.  Paul says to the Thessalonians ‘The Word of God which effectually worketh in you.’  Do we believe in inerrancy, authority and sufficiency?  Because if we don’t, then all this other psychobabble, all kinds of things creep in, manmade religion and all this other stuff.  This was a time when there was no king in Israel, though a king would come, and is coming.  Every man did what was right in his own eyes.  We have this [holding up his Bible]. 

 

The Levite, Jonathan Son Of Gershom, Grandson of Moses, Comes To Micah’s Little House of Idols

 

“And there was a young man out of Bethlehem-judah of the family of Judah,  who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.” (verse 7) and people right away want to pick on the Bible and say ‘Hey, this is wrong, here’s a guy whose a Levite who was from Judah,’ no, it says “there was a young  man  out of Bethlehem-judah, of the family of Judah,” the grammar is “Bethlehem that’s from Judah” because there was another Bethlehem in Zebulun mentioned earlier in Joshua 9, so not as to confuse them, because they’re in the north here, this is Bethlehem of Bethlehem-judah, the family of Judah, and there was a Levite that came from there from that area, and he sojourns there.  “And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehem-judah to sojourn where he could find a place:  and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.  And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou?  And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehem-judah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place.” (verses 8-9)  Now this is an interesting Levite.  And if you look over in verse 30 of chapter 18, it says, “And the children of Dan set up the graven image:  and Jonathan, the son of Gershom,” King James saysthe son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan, until the day of the captivity of the land.”   This is the same priest, his name is Jonathan, he is the son of Gershom.  We’re told clearly in Exodus 2:22 and 18:3 I believe, that Gershom is the son of Moses, not Manasseh.  But all of the ancient rabbis, and if you read the Hebrew scholars, they tell you there’s a floating ‘nun’ that was put in there, and that one little [Hebrew] mark changes Moses to Manasseh, and the fact that it’s floating, the grammarists understand it was inserted, and it was to lift some of the reproach from Moses, who was their law-giver, because his grandson Jonathan was actually this idolator.  Well his brother Aaron was the one who made a golden calf, so it might run in the family 😊.  But here, this young Levite, his name is Jonathan, he’s the son of Gershom, he’s the grandson of Moses, which helps us place this early in the Book of Judges.  He says ‘I’m a Levite of Bethlehem-judah, and I go to sojourn that I might find a place, I’m looking around to see where I might find myself a place.’  ‘And Micah said to him, funny thing, I just returned the money I stole from my mom, just made some molten images, some graven images, got myself a shrine, and I was desperate to have a priest, I had to consecrate my boy here, but now that I got a real Levite, then you’re out of a job son,’ and I’m not sure how the home dynamics work around this.  “And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals.  So the Levite went in.” (verse 10)  Now there were 900 left, he’s got him for a lot of years there, a suit of clothes, and your vittels, if you watch Beverly Hillbillies you know what that is, I work for vittels, good food.  “And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.” (verse 11) this is the grandson of Moses, ten shekels, a shirt and vittels, and he’s content.  That’s sad, that’s sad.  What’s our price, my price sometimes, that makes me content when I should never be content, for a number of reasons, because God has so much more for me.  You know Peter prays that we might receive an abundant entrance into the Kingdom.  I remember early on when I was early saved, backslidden, struggling, miserable, just sitting saying ‘Lord, let me die, I’m just so tired of everything, you’re my heavenly Father, you must be ashamed of me, my earthly father if he knew what I was doing he’d be ashamed of me, Father you must be ashamed of me, you know, I heard you talk about John the Baptist, you said he that is least in the Kingdom will be greater than him, I’ll be least, just let me be inside the Kingdom, let me inside the door, give me a golden blanket and a golden cup, I’ll sit along the wall and be the Kingdom beggar, just let me in tonight, I’m tired.’  But that’s not what he wants for us, we’re joint-heirs, we cry Abba, Father.  Peter prays that we might have an abundant entrance into the Kingdom, that there are good works, Paul tells us, that are fore ordained that we should walk in them, and we shouldn’t settle for less, and I don’t think it’s gonna get easier from now till he comes.  But we shouldn’t settle for less.  This kid was Moses’ grandson.  In the Kingdom [of God] there are no grandsons, only sons and daughters.  And we are sons and daughters of the Most High God, there is a King now, and we’re not to be doing what’s right in our own eyes.  How sad, ten shekels of silver and some vittels, he’s ready.  “And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.” (verse 11)  “And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.” (verse 12) he’s consecrating everybody.  I don’t know how he’s doing it, or how he thinks he should be doing it, he consecrates the Levite, it seems to me the Levite should already be consecrated, “and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.”  Must be nice in the morning, you wake up and have your own priest, that’s nice, I guess in old Israel you don’t have to go to Shiloh, you got your own priest.  He says ‘be a father unto me,’ you know that Jesus in Matthew tells us in chapter 23, verse 9 I believe, we shouldn’t call any man ‘my father.’  The word “Abbot” is from father, “padre” means father in Italian [and Spanish], “pope” means pappa.  Jesus said you shouldn’t call anybody “father,” spiritually, he said.  I mean I had a dad, and I have men spiritually that have been mentors to me, and pastor’s pastors to me.  But the idea is, Jesus says, you have one Father, and that’s the One whose in heaven, and never let anybody on earth replace him.  But Micah’s got a real live living Levite in his home and related to Moses, so he’s happy as a lark.  [Matthew 23:9, “And call no man your father upon the earth:  for one is your Father, which is in heaven.”]  “Then said Micah, Now I know that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.” (verse 13) this guy needs to read the Bible, he’s got everything mixed up.  You know, Vance Havner, I read this quote by Vance Havner, he said “You shouldn’t be upset that they don’t give out Bibles in public schools anymore, because when the kids grow up and go to prisons they’ll be able to get free Bibles.”  Look, success doesn’t always mean God’s blessing, this guy considers this a special situation now, he’s got his own shrine, he’s got his own ephod, he’s got his own teraphim, he’s got his own molten images, and he’s got his own Levite, he’s got his man-made gods, his own priest, his own worship, his own religion, and God’s not involved at all, at all.  Of course, when you try to tell somebody that they end up getting mad at you.  But here’s the introduction to chapter 18, this very strange picture.  Now we’re going to weave the tribe of Dan into this. 

 

Judges 18:1-31

 

“In those days there was no king in Israel:  and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel. 2 And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land:  who when they came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, they lodged there. 3 When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite:  and they turned thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? And what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here? 4 And he said unto them, Thus and thus saith Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest. 5 And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous. 6 And the priest said unto them, Go in peace:  before the LORD is your way wherein ye go. 7 Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man. 8 And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol:  and their brethren said unto them, What say ye? 9 And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them:  for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good:  and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and  to enter to possess the land. 10 When ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land:  for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth. 11 And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war. 12 And they went up, and pitched in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah:  wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan unto this day:  behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim. 13 And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah. 14 Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do. 15 And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him. 16 And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate. 17 And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image:  and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war. 18 And these went into Micah’s house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image.  Then said the priest unto them, What do ye? 19 And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest:  is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel? 20 And the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people. 21 So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle and the carriage before them. 22 And when they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah’s house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan. 23 And they cried unto the children of Dan.  And they turned their faces, and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company? 24 And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away:  and what have I more? and what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee? 25 And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household. 26 And the children of Dan went their way:  and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house. 27 And they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure:  and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Beth-rehob.  And they built a city, and dwelt therein. 29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel:  howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first. 30 And the children of Dan set up the graven image:  and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh [actually “Moses”], he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.”

 

Who Are The Danites?  A Connect-The-Dots History Lesson

 

[Comment:  Historically connecting the dots tells us who the tribe of Dan became as two separate nations in northwestern Europe.  In verse 29 it says “And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel:  howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.”  Historically we find the tribe of Dan, as it migrated out of the Middle East after the captivity of  721BC, continually placed the name of Dan wherever they went.  The Don and Dnieper rivers bear this Mark of Dan, as it’s come to be called.  This 18th chapter of Judges also reveals the true nature of Dan, which Jacob gave prophetically in Genesis 49:16-17, “Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel.  Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.”  In Denmark [the Danes pronounce it Danmark, for mark of Dan], this half of the tribe of Dan became known as Sword-Danes, Danish Viking warriors that attacked and later settled in England during the 800s AD.  Ireland is the second half of the tribe of Dan, as attested to by the ancient Gaelic name of the founding tribe of Ireland, Tuatha de Danaan, which translates as “Tribe of Dan” in Gaelic.  This warlike attacking spirit of the Danites, first seen in this chapter of Judges is also seen in the dark and humourous movie “Boondock Saints,” a Troy Duffy movie starring Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus, as well as in the movie “Patriot Games,” starring Harrison Ford, about the I.R.A.  There are times when Pastor Joe will mistakenly call the Danites Jewish, or Jews, which is totally inaccurate, as the Jews came from the tribe of Judah, a completely different tribe out of the 12 tribes of Israel.  The ten northern tribes of Israel that broke away from the complete 12 tribed nation of Israel under Solomon’s son Rehoboam took on the name Kingdom of Israel, and the southern remaining Kingdom of Judah remained under the kings from the line of David.  This southern Kingdom of Judah was made up of Levi, Judah and the southern half of the tribe of Benjamin.  The northern 10-tribed Kingdom of Israel got taken captive and deported to the region of the Caspian Sea, the tribe of Dan being a part of those defeated, captured and deported 10 northern tribes.  After 70 years of their Assyrian captivity, they became free and migrated northwestward into the northern back door of Europe, along with a few other tribes, becoming viking-warrior tribes.  Danite viking-warrior raiders, the Sword Danes, invaded England in the 800s AD and conquered all of England except the last remaining Saxon king who refused to fall to the Danes, Alfred the Great, king of  Wessex.  After 300 years of fighting and drinking and womanizing, the Sword Danes, unable to conquer Wessex, melded into the British nation  [for their complete history order and watch the BBC series The Last Kingdom].  Denmark remained a nation, as did Ireland.  But a good part of the DNA within the British in England is Sword Dane.  Which begs the question, who were the Anglo-Saxons, who invaded the Isle of Britain, and who were the ancient Britons who resided in southwest England?  Whoever the “Lost 10 Tribes of Israel” are, God hasn’t lost sight of them, they are not Jewish, and this mystery will be solved later.  But this bit of Danite-Irish-Danish connect-the-dots history is fascinating.]

 

Dan Wasn’t Happy With His Inheritance--Are You?

 

“In those days there was no king in Israel:” we know that, “and in those days the tribe of the Danites sought them an inheritance to dwell in; for unto that day all their inheritance had not fallen unto them among the tribes of Israel.” (verse 1)  Now that was not God’s fault.  We’re told in Joshua 19 that the lots were cast, and Dan received an inheritance, in fact it was a good inheritance, it was lush, there were vineyards.  It tells us in chapter 1, and that’s where we are, we’re early in Judges, it says ‘The Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountain, for they would not suffer them to come down into the valley.’  That was not the Amorites fault, that was Dan’s fault.  If they had hit their knees, and got their heart before the LORD, they could have marched through them, because Judah took their territory, and it’s interesting in Numbers chapter 26, as Moses numbered the children of Israel, Dan had 64,400 warriors, they were second only to Judah, Judah was the only tribe with more warriors.  And as they came into the land, the land was divided, it says Dan did not pursue the lot that fell out to them, but instead, they’re seeking someplace for an inheritance for themselves.  Listen, this is a rebellion, it is a slap in the face of God.  The lots had fallen out, we’re told in the New Testament that God is the one who determines how those lots fell out, Stephen in Acts 7 told us God is the one who determines how those lots fell out.  In ancient Israel it wasn’t the lottery, it wasn’t like buying a lottery ticket, you might win, you might not, they understood that they fell out exactly where God wanted them to fall out.  In fact as you read them, you see they fell out right where Jacob prophecied they would fall out several hundred years before that (cf. Genesis 49, but Genesis 49 is also prophetic of who each tribe would also become “in the last days”).  There was no question of happenstance.  And for each of us, there is a portion that’s fallen out to us.  Paul said that he wanted to finish his course with joy.  Each of us has a course, every one of us in this room.  And every one of us in this room will be rewarded in regards to our fidelity in pursuing that course.  How faithful are you to the thing God’s given you to do?  There are grandmas and grandpas more faithful to their grandchildren than I’ve been to the pulpit here in Calvary Philly, and when we get to heaven they’re going to get more rewards than I am.  Each one of us have a course (here’s mine, https://unityinchrist.com/author.htm).  Again, as you look at the picture, they fall out, some people get mountains, some people get waterfalls, and some people get deserts.  Jonnie Eareckson, you know I heard her say “This is the lot that’s fallen out to me,” and she’s done more with that, she’s touched the world [she’s a quadriplegic, due to a head/spinal injury when she was young].  There are others who have sat depressed and despondent and defeated, she’s touched the world.  She said “I’d rather be in this wheelchair knowing Jesus Christ, than have my health restored and be jogging and swimming, not knowing him, because it was through this I’ve come to know him, and this has become my pulpit, I’ve been able to talk to the world about how faithful and how wonderful he is.”  And there’s a lot that’s fallen out to us, and it's with God’s wisdom and his love and his design.  If all we do is sit around and we’re envious of somebody else’s territory, what’s going on in their life, ‘And I wish I had this, I wish I had that.’ we’re missing something, we need to open our eyes.  Dan was in rebellion and sin, and it would lead to idolatry in Israel that would plague Israel all the way through the days of Jeroboam [in reality, Jeroboam II and Hoshea in 2nd Kings 17, the chapter that describes the fall of Samaria to the kings of Assyria (verses 1-18).  For the whole history, see https://unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html]  All the way through the days of Jeroboam.  “the Danites sought for an inheritance to dwell in;” they didn’t need to seek for an inheritance, they already had one, it was handed to them, it fell out to them, God had given it to them.  Because they failed to take the territory through faith that God had given to them, the Amorites had a certain amount of strength, the Philistines began to grow in strength, and they’re looking for somewhere else to go amongst the tribes of Israel.  “And the children of Dan sent of their family five men from their coasts, men of valour, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said unto them, Go, search the land:  who when they came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, they lodged there.” (verse 2)  Now it’s sad, good men doing a  wrong thing, men of valour from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, very luxurious and verdant part of the country.  Now I don’t know why everybody stopped there at Micah’s Little House of Idols, was it like a Motel-6 or something, everybody seems to get to the house of Micah, I don’t know what’s going on.  [I suspect the Danites were already into idolatry, and word gets out about Micah having these idols and a genuine Levite doing his priest thing there.]  “When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man [Jonathan] the Levite:  and they turned in thither, and said unto him, Who brought thee hither? and what makest thou in this place? and what hast thou here?” (verse 3)  Now some say they knew his voice because he had a southern drawl, it was his dialect, we saw that with the tribe of Ephraim earlier.  Maybe this Jonathan was well-known in the south.  They asked him ‘What are you doing here, what are you doing? and what hast thou here?’  “And he said unto them, Thus and thus dealeth Micah with me, and hath hired me, and I am his priest.” (verse 4)  No shame, have-priest-will-travel, ‘I wandered in and Micah hired me.’   ‘Really?  Does he pay good?  I get 10 shekels, a shirt and vittels, you can sleep outside in the barn.’  “And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.” (verse 5)  That’s something that you and I can know without going to some phony priest.  We have the Book, and if we are obedient to it, we can know that our way will be prosperous, spiritually.  Doesn’t mean everything else goes good in the physical, sometimes there’s very difficult situations.  But they’re saying ‘How can we know whether our way will be prosperous?’  That is to walk in his ways, we have his Word.  And they’re in Ephraim, they could have gone to Shiloh, the Urim and Thummim were there, they could have found out for sure.  “And the priest said unto them, Go in peace:  before the LORD is your way wherein ye go.” (verse 6)  Well he’s gotta be positive or he’ll be unemployed, who wants to hire a priest who gives you bad news all the time.  He doesn’t say ‘You sinner, what are you doing here, you need to go to Shiloh, you guys are knuckleheads,’ and you’re out of a job, ten shekels, a shirt and some vittels. 

 

 

The Five Spies Spy Out The Peaceful City Of Laish, The Future City Of Dan

 

“Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people that were therein, how they dwelt careless, after the manner of the Zidonians, quiet and secure; and there was no magistrate in the land, that might put them to shame in any thing; and they were far from the Zidonians, and had no business with any man.” (verse 7) these people are living at the northern end of the Hulah Valley there [and these are Zidonians], and this becomes Dan, the tribe of Dan is going to slaughter these people wholesale, burn this ancient city of Laish and rebuild it and it will be called Dan.  God knows that, in Genesis chapter 14, verse 14, the five kings of the north, you remember, Chedorlaomer and the five kings of the north come down and carry away Sodom and Gomorrah [those five kings were Assyrian kings, from the Assyrian Empire, God used Abraham and his trusty band of 300 to diminished the power of this empire for centuries], Abraham and his 300 and some armed servants pursue them to Dan, heading north and to Damascus.  Moses writes that when he writes the Book of Genesis, because his readers would understand where that was.  [So he’s saying, and it makes sense, that God knew the Danites would take and slaughter Laish long before they actually did.]  In Deuteronomy 34, which is a long time before this, Deuteronomy 34 as Moses goes up to Mount Pisgah to die, God shows him the entire land of Israel, and he starts in the north with Dan, it says, over 50 years before any of this happens [so, doing the math, 1406BC - 50 years = 1356BC when Judges 18 occurs].  And the vision that’s described, he’s seeing over 200 miles, so we know it's supernatural [you can’t see beyond the horizon, which is 23 miles distant from wherever you stand].  And he’s seeing the future of Israel, from Dan to Beersheba [now called Beer-Sheva by the Israelis], is the way the land would become be known.  That does not endorse their sin, it doesn’t mean that God approved of it, it was just the future and God knew it, and the land of Israel would be known as the land that would go from Dan to Beersheba.  Those of you who’ve been to Israel, you go to Tel-Dan, it is the largest spring contributing to the Jordan, flowing down, the Jordan river, I forget how many millions of gallons coming out of the ground per hour, it’s a beautiful place, it’s verdant, there’s all kinds of figs and trees, and it’s green.  And you go there today, it’s interesting to stand there and look at Jeroboam’s altar, which has been excavated.  Jeroboam [he says] the son of Solomon [but he wasn’t, Jeroboam was an official working under Solomon, Solomon’s son, the future king of the Kingdom of Judah was Rehoboam.  Jeroboam split off the ten northern tribes of Israel, making them into the Kingdom of Israel, in a bloodless civil war which God both prophecied and allowed, Pastor Joe has his kings confused] the golden calf at Bethel and at Dan, it becomes the leading place of idolatry in the north, because these people would not settle for what God had for them.  [Comment:  to the north of Dan were the Zidonians, who were big in Baal worship.  King Ahab of Israel in the 800sBC was married to a Zidonion princess named Jezebel, who just happened to be the high priestess of Baal in her own city-state of Zidon.  The Zidonians and Tyrians of Tyre were the two principle city-states of the seagoing Phoenician Empire.  King David made an alliance with Hiram king of Tyre that became the backbone of Solomon’s merchant marine-navy, and after the bloodless civil war/split-up into the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah, the northern ten tribes of the Kingdom of Israel inherited this merchant marine-naval alliance with the Phoenician empire under Tyre and Sidon.  The religious influence of this alliance was telling and disastrous, peaking under king Ahab and queen Jezebel. see https://unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html]  And when we won’t settle for what God has for us and we want something other than what God has for us, it always becomes idolatry.  Interesting sight, there’s also the oldest freestanding mudgate in the world there, it’s 4,000 years old when you go to Tel-Dan.  And it's always remarkable looking at that, because father Abraham came through that gate and stood there and yelled ‘Hey, is my nephew Lot in there?’ whatever language they were speaking there, I don’t know.  Remarkable, but the excavation bears mute testimony to all of this and to the insanity certainly of it.  So, a beautiful place, it’s lush, it’s green, these people living in Laish, they’re separated from the Zidonians who are out on the coast, nobody’s really doing business with them, the area is verdant enough so they don’t have to be dependent on anybody, they’re isolated, so they’re kind of cut off.  And these men of Dan think ‘This is a perfect setup.’  “And they came unto their brethren to Zorah and Eshtaol:  and their brethren said unto them, What say ye?” (verse 8)  “And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them:  for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good:” and it is beautiful, “and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land.  And when ye go, ye shall come unto a people secure, and to a large land:  for God hath given it into your hands; a place where there is no want of any thing that is in the earth.” (verses 9-10)  Wrong, they were taking it, God hadn’t given it to them at all.  “a place where there is no want of any thing” which isn’t true or they wouldn’t have put up a golden calf.  “And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war.  And they went up, and pitched in Kirjath-jearim, in Judah:  wherefore they called that place Mahaneh-dan unto this day:  behold, it is behind Kirjath-jearim.” (verses 11-12)  “Mahaneh-dan” which is “the camp of Dan” unto this day.  Just in case you’re wondering, just for your information.  [there’s Dan naming his name Dan wherever he goes, Mahaneh-dan, Camp of Dan.]    

 

The Nature Of Dan Comes Out In This Event

 

“And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came” where everybody comes, “unto the house of Micah.” (verse 13)  and I know they don’t have 600 beds, so busy place, everybody stops in, ‘Honey, guess who’s here tonight.’  “Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do.” (verse 14) ‘you know the point I’m getting at here? we moving, we’re taking on a new territory, we need to have some new gods,’ this is a perfect setup, I want you to understand what I’m saying.  “And  they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him.” (verse 15) ‘Hey, we’re gonna steal your gods.’  “And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate.” (verse 16)  They kind of stood outside the area here where Micah lives.  “And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image:  and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war.” (verse 17)  now it’s gonna say down in verse 18 “the fetched them,” it’s gonna say in verse 20 “they took them,” it’s gonna say in verse 24 “you’ve taken my gods,” there’s a dead giveaway here.  If they can take your gods, you got the wrong god.  And if five guys can fetch your god, he’s not big enough.  If he can’t handle five guys and take care of himself, how is he gonna take care of you?  You need another God.  It says the five men that went to spy out the land went up and they came in, and they took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim and the molten image, “and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war.”  “And these went into Micah’s house, and they fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image.  Then said the priest unto them, What do ye?” (verse 18)  he’s out with the six hundred guys, here comes the five guys with all the gods, and this priest, that’s job-security for him, all his gods are walking, he says ‘What do you guys think you’re doing?’  “They said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest:  is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?” (verse 19)  “Hold your peace, put your hand on your mouth,” you know people you wish you could say that to, don’t you?  Anyhow.  “And the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.” (verse 20) this is a great deal, more money, more people, more prestige, his ego is right in the middle of this.  I think this guy’s a hireling.  [Well, duh, for one he worships  with pagan gods, not the True God whose representative is in Shiloh, his true high priest being in the Tabernacle in Shiloh.]  None of that goes on around today, there’s nobody around today where they’re worried about bigger salaries, television broadcasts, more recognition, more of this, more of that, ‘Great, great, that’s great, suits me well.’  This priest’s heart was glad.  I bet it was, this guy was happy with ten shekels and a shirt and vittels, he’s got a whole tribe now, ‘this priest’s heart was glad,’ “and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.” priest for sale, there he goes, was a blue-light special.  “So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the cattle in the carriage before them.” (verse 21)  What they’re doing is they’re establishing a rearguard, because Joshua always went before the children of Israel into the battle, but they’re sending everyone [all the little ones, cattle etc.] ahead of them and establishing a rearguard, no doubt suspecting that they might get some trouble from Micah and the men in the town.  And when they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men that were in the houses near to Micah’s house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan.  And they cried unto the children of Dan.  And they turned their faces” the children of Dan turned back, “and said unto Micah, What aileth thee, that thou comest with such a company?” (verses 22-23)  ‘What are you coming here with all these people?’ the Danites said.  “And he said, Ye have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and ye are gone away:  and what have I more?  and what is this that ye say unto me, What aileth thee?” (verse 24)  It tells the whole story, doesn’t it.  ‘You took my handmade gods and you took my priest, you’ve taken everything, what have I more?’  You know, sometimes we need to realize why it’s so hard for us to witness to family, friends and relatives that are religious, that are members of religious institutions, because what you’re saying takes away their priest and their graven images, and they look at you and think ‘If I listen to them, what have I more?  You know, everything I’ve had my whole life is gone, everything I’ve clung to is taken away.’  [I never thought that.  My mother when we were young asked me and my two sisters if we’d like to attend the Episcopal church with her, and although it is one of those institutional “churches,” I first learned about the Bible and God’s Word through them and their wonderful minister, which brought me further toward God’s ultimate calling upon my life.  Some of Elmore Young’s children’s sermons still stick in my memory.  Looking back, God had his eye on me from my youth, and used those along the way to influence, educate and nudge me toward his ultimate calling on my life.  The real institutional church filled with all those graven images, although he’s loath to say it, is the Roman Catholic Church.  Many of the other “churches” and denominations are made up of past Revivals of God, which turned into denominations, which grew old and spiritually died, but they were alive at one point in time, they’ve become “institutionalized” churches by default.  See https://unityinchrist.com/history/IntroChurchHistory.htm]  And that’s the way it always is with man’s religion, there’s a security to it, in people’s minds there’s something tangible about it.  But the Truth is always more powerful, Light is always more powerful than darkness.  It’s interesting to look at this scene here, this guy is going to try to rescue his god.  If I have to rescue my god, I don’t want him no more.  I need a God who rescues me.  I need a God, and I have a God who rescues me.  And look, we can all do this, can’t we?  We can all do this.  Again, I have a note here in my Bible, because the last time I taught this I remember, it was years, many moons ago, late 60s, early 70s, playing music, and I had saved up money, when I was a musician, that was an unsaved musician, a task in and of itself, and had ordered it guitar, and it was nice enough that they had to build it, I had to wait for them to make it, it was a Guild F4-12, twelve string, it was startling.  It was birds eye maple, arched back, real nice gentle arch, spruce top, ebony everywhere, mother of pearl, it was a sparkly god, it was beautiful.  We spent a lot of time together, me and my god.  And then, the band I was in, we needed some other gear, so I took it to a music store where  I knew the manager then, it was a big music store, and I said “What will you give me for this?  and he looked at it and he said ‘We’ll give you this small piano, this gear,’ we needed gear, so I traded it in and said, ‘Look, let me put a hundred bucks down on it,’ he said ‘No problem,’ because we were friends, ‘and I’ll start to buy it back again.’  So I was going in whenever I could and put another hundred bucks down, another hundred bucks down, and we were traveling on the road, and what happened was, we were out on the road, he left the job and another manager took the store over, ya, I know, I still feel it. [laughter]  And Billy Crash Cradock came in with his band, they were up from Nashville doing something, and his guitar player pulled it out and started playing it, and bought it on the spot, and the manager didn’t know that I had made this arrangement and been paying it off.  And my god was gone.  Look, here’s the worst part of it, he went and recorded on their next album with it, and I had to hear it.  That’s not the worst part of it, the song that it’s in is an old Billy Crash Craddock song called Rub It In [loud laughter].  That’s my god on there.  I was a brand new Christian, I didn’t know what the Lord was doing, where he was, I felt like he forsook me, I didn’t know what was going on.  I just knew I was getting rubbed in.  But we can all do that, we can all get attached to things enough that when they’re taken from us, we treat people the way we shouldn’t, we start to gripe, we start to complain.  You know, I didn’t say ‘What else have I?’  I had a 53 gold top Les Paul and a 69 Strata, I had some other things to brag about, but it was heart-wrenching.  In case anybody in Billy Crash Craddock’s band ever listens to this tape and you don’t want that, you can give it back to me.  Anyhow, he comes back and tries to rescue his god and they said ‘What do you want?’ and he said  ‘You’ve taken away my gods, and you’ve taken my priest, and you’re going away with them.  What have I more?  I don’t have anything else, and what is this that you’re saying to me, what’s wrong with me?  why am I chasing ya?’  “And the children of Dan said unto him, Let not thy voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows run upon thee, and thou lose thy life, with the lives of thy household.” (verse 25) that’s Hebrew for ‘Cool it, or else.’  “And the children of Dan went their way:  and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back unto his house.” (verse 26)  ‘he went back, moping, all the way to his house.’ he said ‘Mom, I’m not sure you did take that curse off me.’  “And  they took the things which Micah had made, and the priest which he had, and came unto Laish, unto a people that were at quiet and secure:  and they smote them with the edge of the sword, and burnt the city with fire.” that’s the end of quiet and secure.  “And there was no deliverer, because it was far from Zidon, and they had no business with any man; and it was in the valley that lieth by Beth-rehob.  And they built a city, and dwelt therein.  And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born unto Israel:  howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first.” (verses 27-29) literally “he was born unto Jacob,” he was one of the twelve sons of Jacob.  [Comment:  Dan, the tribe of Dan, historically named everywhere they went and settled “Dan” in some form of the language of the people where they ended up or regions they were travelling through.  This is a habit of the Danites that goes back in history to this verse 29 of Judges 18, also in verse 12.]  “howbeit the name of the city was Laish at the first” and it became the city of Dan, and Israel would be measured from Dan to Beersheba.

 

“And They Set Up Micah’s Graven Image…All The Time The House Of God Was At Shiloh”

 

“And the children of Dan set up the graven image:  and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh [Moses], he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.” (verse 30)  [From 1356BC to 721BC]  Isn’t that interesting?  They were priests evidently all the way through Israel’s history, and when Jeroboam sets up a rival idolatry.  Because the northern ten tribes were seceding from Solomon’s son’s reign at Jerusalem, Jeroboam didn’t want them to go to Jerusalem for the Feasts and so forth, so he set up two golden calves, one at Dan, and one at Bethel, and evidently this line of Levites from Moses’ family were still there.  “And they set them up Micah’s graven image, which he made,” and here’s the saddest line of all, “all the time the house of God was at Shiloh.” (verse 31)  all the time, quietly, unobtrusive, prescribed by God, the Truth was there, it wasn’t screaming at anybody, it wasn’t running anybody down, it wasn’t stealing anything from anybody, it was abiding, steadfast, unchanging, just as it does today, all the while.  We look at the insanity going on in the world today, all the while the Gospel of Jesus Christ still has power, is quietly changing lives, all the while the Holy Spirit is still convicting the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment, all the while the Word of God has been preserved through the centuries, inerrant, it’s been handed to us today.  And Amos tells us, the problem is not that we live in a culture that is not exposed to the Word of God, he says ‘There’s a famine in the land, but it is a famine of the hearing of the Word of God.’  It’s not a famine of the Word of God.  There’s still Gideon’s Bibles in hotel rooms, there’s still Christian radio and Christian TV in this country, there’s still Bibles sitting around, there’s not a famine of the Word of God, there’s a famine of the hearing, that deals with the heart attitude, there’s a famine of the hearing of the Word of God.  Look, that’s because people are lovers of their own selves, and lovers of money.  There’s no more natural love and respect in the household the way it should be.  People are fierce now, and angry and uncouth, no longer are there those that are lovers of that which is good.  I mean, we see it on the television, [just look at the insurrection of January 6th 2021 when a white supremacist Confederate flag-waving mob overwhelmed the United States Capitol Building to try to stop the House and Senate from counting the ballots for the 2020 Presidential election], I mean I just get tired of seeing good people and Christian people railed on and ripped up and down and mocked, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure, lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God.  Oh they want their own turf, and they want to set up their graven image and have their shrine and their ephod and their priest, but they don’t want to hear anything about the power of Jesus Christ to change their lives, they don’t to hear anything about the fact that he’s alive, that they’re accountable to him and that he can set them free, because they love pleasure more than they love God.  And they have to admit that what they’re doing is wrong.  But listen, here’s the great thing, there are people who get sick of it.  I did, didn’t you at some point?  There are people who realize ‘I’ve got everybody fooled now, taken me years to get my act together, and I got everybody fooled but the guy I look at in the mirror every day.  My problem is I go to bed with me, and I’m empty and I’m tired.  And I can fool everybody else but I can’t fool me.’  And there are those who are saying ‘God, are you there?’  They need to hear that there is a God who loves them  [yup, God is alive and well, see https://unityinchrist.com/Does/Does%20God%20Exist.html]  There is a God who paid the price in the blood of his own Son to set them free, and give them a new beginning.  They need to hear it from people who live themselves, transformed lives that are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ [what is that Gospel?  For a Biblical definition of it, see https://unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm]  It is the power of God to salvation and it is the only hope in this world, it is the only hope in this world.  And it’s invested in you and me, to let it out, to let it out in this culture, friends, relatives.  And look, why?  Just because you want to see them saved?  No, because he paid the price, it’s to let the Lamb that was slain have the reward of his suffering, to do it for him, to do it for him.  The price has been paid, whosoever will let him come.  The end of the Book of Revelation says ‘Whosoever thirsts, let him come and drink of the water of life freely,’ that word “freely” is “undeservedly” in the Greek, you can never earn it, you can never deserve it, you can never be worthy of it, but you can come and get it freely, it’s yours.  And because he paid the price, we need to continue to make the offer.  And one day when we stand around that throne, in front of the Lamb, we will cast our crowns at his feet, the Lamb that was slain…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Judges 17:1-13 and Judges 18:1-31, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

related links:

King David made an alliance with Hiram king of Tyre that became the backbone of Solomon’s merchant marine-navy, and after the bloodless civil war/split-up into the Kingdom of Israel and the Kingdom of Judah, the northern ten tribes of the Kingdom of Israel inherited this merchant marine-naval alliance with the Phoenician empire under Tyre and Sidon.  The religious influence of this alliance was telling and disastrous, peaking under king Ahab and queen Jezebel. see https://unityinchrist.com/kings/1.html     

The real institutional church filled with all those graven images, although Pastor Joe is loath to say it, is the Roman Catholic Church.  Many of the other “churches” and denominations that have become institutionalized are made up of past Revivals of God, which turned into denominations, which grew old and spiritually died, but they were alive at one point in time.  For their history see https://unityinchrist.com/history/IntroChurchHistory.htm

God is alive and well, see https://unityinchrist.com/Does/Does%20God%20Exist.html

What is the Gospel?  For a Biblical definition of it, see https://unityinchrist.com/misc/WhatIsTheGospel%20.htm



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