A few weeks ago I was mentioning an individual I had come across in the Bible who had BOUGHT his own priest, so that he had remission of sins on tap. Of course, my memory failed me and I could not recall where I had noticed this.
However, I am reading through Judges as part of my regular Bible reading (I hesitate to say ‘daily’ Bible reading), and I was delighted this morning – after being blown away once more by the tragic narrative of Samson from Judges 13 to 16, to find that chapter 17 of Judges contains the story:
The man Micah had a shrine, and made an ephod and household idols; and he consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest….Now there was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah; he was a Levite, and was staying there. The man departed from the city of Bethlehem in Judah to stay wherever he could find a place. Then he came to the mountains of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. And Micah said to him, ‘Where do you come from?’ So he said to him ‘I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am on my way to find a place to stay.’
Micah said to him, ‘Dwell with me, and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten shekels of silver per year, a suit of clothes, and your sustenance.’ So the Levite went in.
The Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became like one of his sons to him. So Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and lived in the house of Micah.
Then Micah said, ‘Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since I have a Levite as a priest!’
This narrative appears to follow the Hebrew style of telling the story and then RE telling it; so in verse 5 (the first part quoted) it tells us he consecrated one of his sons, and then it goes on to explain that this was an ‘adopted’ son who originally was just wandering around.
Judges is a disturbing book because it does not contain any framework, often, for the stories – a lot of the time we have to draw our own conclusions and balance out what has been said with the rest of Scripture. That is the end of the narrative in the book of Judges. And yet, it sounds a little like the man in the gospel parable who said: “Take thine ease” because he had food for many years to come in his large barns. We know that it is a foolish thing to say.
This also reminds me of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8 who wishes to BUY the Holy Spirit.
How foolish this all is! And how unnecessary. Firstly, Micah made his OWN god, and we know that this is idolatry. Yet how many of us fashion our own personal household god? Either a personal goal or ambition, or our own family, or a possession, or a football club. Something else holds sway over our lives, dictates our moods, governs the direction of our days, other than Him.
Secondly, Micah sees the opportunity to ‘guarantee eternal security and lifelong blessings’, and he grabs it. He puts his trust in the legs of a man, rather than in the arm of the Lord Himself.
The Levite said that he was ‘on his way’ to find a place to stay. This is no bad thing. And it is a delight to find others ‘on the way’ and to be encouraged in their journey, in the new things they have found, in the ongoing, increasing, overflowing and diverse ways in which God shows his provision for them. But Micah made the mistake of ‘setting up camp’ with this Levite, a ‘young man’. Again, how frequently do we look to the young, seeing hope there, rather than looking to the God of all generations?
Personally, I would like to think I am ‘on my way’, as well, that I am ‘looking for a place to stay’. However, I will not arrive there until I reach the Celestial City. I would not be waylaid by any well-wisher or someone wanting to confer benefits on me for their own security.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.