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Passage: Judges 16-18

On Wednesday, April 2, 2014, Yujin wrote,

In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:6).

The reason that there was no king in Israel was because God was their king, and the people had rejected the LORD's rule by rejecting His Law for them. Thus, since they rejected the guiding light of His Law, every person simply did what they felt was the right thing to do in their own perspective. 

We, thus, get a glimpse of what life would be like apart from the Word of God. When there is no Word of God, people will call what is evil good and what is good evil. When there is no Word of God, there will be no punishment for sin, but the weak will always give way to the strong. Even those whose profession is to facilitate worship will bend to the enticement of power, money and security. They will pronounce "Thus says the LORD..." even as they faciliate the worship of idols. And through it all, they will be thinking they they are honoring the LORD.

"Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, seeing I have a Levite as priest" (Judges 17:13).

Micah is confident that that the LORD will prosper him because he has employed a Levite to be his personal priest to help him worship his idols. Little did he consider his blatant idolatry and violation of God's Law. God would certainly bless him for the sincerity of His intention, right?

Friends, the LORD struck down a man, who simply reached out his hand to keep the ark of the covenant from falling off a cart. God did this because He had commanded that the ark be carried on poles by a very particular group of Levites. God's Word was not followed.

God will not hold anyone guiltless simply because of their good intention or sincerity. Consider God's judgment of the Jews. Paul writes, 

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness (Romans 10:1-3).

In the church today there are many people "zealous for the LORD". Yet, they are zealously wrong! Like Micah, they are calling good evil and evil good. For instance, in Kansas City, there is a group that is trying to redefine biblical prophecy as something short of infallible truth, so that they can get away with making all kinds of false predictions through prophetic "words of encouragement" with impunity.

Today, the kinds of acts that the Bible typically attributes to demons among heathens, like uncontrolled emotional outbursts, animal sounds, ecstatic speech with shaking and collapsing, are attributed to the Holy Spirit. In Jesus day, incontrovertible and genuine organic healings by Jesus were attributed to the devil. This was how the religious leaders of Jesus' day chose to reject Jesus as the Messiah, declaring the genuine as counterfeit. We have come full circle in misguided attribution, so that today the acts of the devil are attributed to the Holy Spirit. This may be how our contemporary religious leaders are choosing to reject Jesus, declaring the counterfeit as genuine. 

Let anyone with wisdom and insight in the Word consider what I'm saying here. Can you see what the devil is doing? He has always been a counterfeiter, posing as an angel of light, subtley yet devastatingly attacking the Word of truth by interlacing half-truths and deceptions. Consider this whole matter of "speaking in tongues." It was given as a miraculous gift for the edification of the body and a sign of judgment for unbelieving Israel. Today, there is no miracle in it, for no one is able to speak in a language that they have never learned. It is simply gibberish, conveniently labeled "angelic tongues". What is more, contrary to the original intent of the gift, namely the edification of the body, it is used exclusively for "personal edification," serving spiritual pride rather than a genuine service to the body of Christ. 

Friends, I left my local church not because they were simply wrong theologically - something that unfortunately happened over time through the influence of a few bad eggs -, but because they chose to close their minds to the Word of God. Not only did they refuse to debate the merits of their misguided convictions, they were even unwilling to discuss it and sought to squash all disagreements from their point of view, citing "church unity" as the reason. Consequently, this was the same reason cited by World Vision International when they chose to embrace and employ homosexual couples. Thankfully, World Vision reversed their decision within just a couple of days of making it. I pray that the leadership of my former church will also come to their senses.

Friends, we must all be of a right mind by studying the Scriptures for ourselves. As we are commanded,

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Passage: Judges 16-18

On Monday, April 2, 2012 (Last Updated on 4/2/2013), Yujin wrote,

As I reread the following post from a year ago, I realize that not much has changed and the conditions that I described in this sharing is even more true today than before.

Judges 17:6, In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.

Friends, if you read chapters 17-18 in Judges without every other verse troubling you, than you do not know the Scriptures as you ought. You are in danger of falling into the very same peril that afflicted Israel in their day. Virtually everything is wrong in the accounts of Micah and the tribe of Dan; however, the Scriptures do not provide here the moral commentary to make this clear. It is as if God intended this text to be not only an indictment of the characters in the text but also of those who read these accounts without understanding.

I am reminded of God's commission to Isaiah to preach to a people who had lost their spiritual awareness:

He said, “Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes (Isaiah 6:9-10).

Isaiah was commissioned to preach to those who not only would not, but could not, repent because they had lost their sense of right and wrong. Even if they heard the truth, they would not recognize it as such. 

This was the condition of Israel at the end of the Book of Judges. It had only been a few generations after Joshua, and the people's moral compass was already broken. They had forgotten all about God's Word, and so they did "whatever seemed right in their own eyes" (Judges 17:6).

Friends, I find this situation epidemic in the church today. What is more, not only are people ignorant of God's Word, even the leaders do not know it. People are only vaguely aware of certain stories and accounts. Leaders preach moral platitudes without considering the context and spiritualize every mundane detail without warrant. This makes me think that we are near another milestone in God's plan for the ages.

In every major era of judgment, what preceded them were ignorance of God's Word and people doing what was right in their own eyes. This was the case in Genesis 6 before the great flood. This was the case in Genesis 11 with the Tower of Babel. This was the case at the end of the Book of Judges before the advent of Samuel and the monarchy in Israel. This was the case before the destruction of Judah. Although King Josiah rediscovered the Book of the Law, it was too late to avert judgment. This would also be the case in the time of Jesus prior to the advent of the church. For John writes that the world and the Jews did not even recognize their Messiah:

He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him (John 1:10-11).

Again, Paul indicts Israel for their ignorance of the truth:

Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness (Romans 10:1-3).

The Jews once again were ignorant of the truth and pursued only what seemed right in their own eyes. 

Paul also prophesied that this state of mind would signify a future milestone:

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths (1 Timothy 4:3-4).

I see representations of this everywhere. People hear only what they want to hear. Leaders only preach what is acceptable to people.

That is why it is my life mission to preach, teach, write, share in such a way that there is a renewed attention given to God's Word. My hope and prayer is that the Bible will be rediscovered by people, not as a collection of quaint stories or a smorgesborg of moral tidbits, but as the preeminent truth of God, which is sufficient to direct every aspect of life in meaningful pursuits. 

Sometimes I'm given a platform. Sometimes that platform is removed. Sometimes I have a large audience. Other times there is only one person. Sometimes I am criticized, whether directly or indirectly. Other times, I am honored. But none of these things mean anything to me, as long as the Gospel is preached and I can bring the message and significance of God's Word into the hearts of as many people as possible.

This world in its present form is passing away. Our lives are like a vapor that appears for a little time and then disappears. Why should I get tangled in the politics of human and worldly affairs? We only have one enduring and meaningful concern and boast. As it is written, "Let those who boast, boast only in the Lord."

Passage: Judges 16-18

On Sunday, April 3, 2011, Stephen wrote,

We see how fast the Israelites are becoming corrupted by the culture of Canaanites.  I believe one of the reasons for their guick backsliding is the lack of the knowledge of God because they seem to serve the Lord God in their own way let alone to worship the deities of the Canaanites.  Moses and Joshua told them over and over how important it is to " Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it."  We may laugh at Micah and Danites for the folly of their sin, making a wrong assumption that we won't do such a thing in our walk with the Lord.  Bothers and sisters!  Without the knowledge of God, we can easily fall into the snares set up by many imposters who bring false Gospel to us.  We may deceive ourselves as well.  Since we live in a culture that repels any notion of a wrathful God, many preachers twist the Gospel to satisfy their itchy ears, emphasizing God's love only.  We are able to understand, however, the riches of His love lavished on us because we are fully aware of His righteous anger in which He wiped out all humanity from the face of the earth during Noah's time and kicked over the tables of money-exchangers in the temple.  Let us ask ourselves, "Do we fear God?", not in a way that one is scared of a tyrant who fiercely oppresses his subjects but in such a way that God can definitely but temporarily suspend His long-suffering to chastise His loved ones.

Passage: Judges 16-18

On Sunday, April 3, 2011, Unmi wrote,
The story of Micah's idol in Judges 17 has so many things wrong with that I don't know where to begin.... It appears that Micah stole money from his own mother, not just spare change from her purse, but 1100 shekels of silver, an amount equivalent to over 100 years of wages. We know this because the Levite, Jonathan, agrees to work for 10 shekels of silver per year (Judges 17:10).  Micah only returns his mother's money because he heard his mother pronounce a curse on it (Judges 17:2) So the return of money was not because Micah was remorseful of what he did, he returned the money because he was afraid of the curse that his mother had pronounced. From this we can assume that either he did not know or had no regard for the curses that the Lord himself pronounced for disobeying God's law (Deut 28). So far he has broken the 5th commandment, Honor your father and your mother and 8th commandment, You shall not steal (Deut 5:16,19).
When Micah returned the money, mother says “The LORD bless you, my son!”  What!!! I'm sure she was happy to get the money back, but no words of discipline? No wonder he stole her money!  Upon receiving the money back, the mother vows to consecrate the silver to God. First of all, there was 1100 shekels of silver, but she only used 200 shekels to make the idol.  What happened to the rest of the money? She promises to consecrate it to God, but it looks like she cheated God out of 900 shekels of silver. Then she proceeds to make an idol out of the silver for her son. There goes the 1st and 2nd commandment. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image. (Deut 5:7-8) Not only did Micah have multiple household gods, he had his own ephod, shrine and priest. Didn't the Lord tell the Israelites that there shall be only one place of worship which the Lord himself will choose! (Deut 12:13-14)
Then enters the Levite, Jonathan, into the scene.   The Levite was looking for a place to stay.  From this I gather that he was unemployed and homeless.  Living in midst of a godless nation, I guess there wasn't much work for priests. Now the Levite could have brought reform into Micah's household, but instead of reform, he aided Micah in his idolatry. Even those who are supposed to know and teach God's word are just as lost. Either he was ignorant of what God commanded or he conveniently put it aside for personal gain. This just reinforces for me that not all those who call themselves servants of the Lord are truly following God's righteous path or even know what the word of God says. We have to be careful to follow Godly leaders who are rooted in the word of God, but how do we know whether they are rooted in the word of God if we ourselves don't know what it says.  I believe many sincere people are lead astray into Christian cults because they place their faith more on a Charismatic leader than on what God has revealed in the Bible. In the midst of sin, Micah sincerely believed that his obtaining the services of a Levite to become a priest for his home would please God. And Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.” (Judges 17:13)
I wonder how many Christians think that as long we appear godly by attending church, doing a certain amount of church activities, by giving a certain amount of monetary offering, then God will be pleased with us.  But God doesn't look at the outward appearance, He looks at the heart, and not just at the sincerity of the heart for sincerity does NOT save, but a person who worships the true and living God in SPIRIT AND TRUTH!
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
Let us worship the Lord our God tomorrow in Spirit and Truth.

Passage: Judges 16-18

On Saturday, April 3, 2010 (Last Updated on 4/2/2013), Fernando wrote,

Ch 18, there was a priest for the tribe of dan. Because the levites were commissioned to serve and minister for the lord. Was it wrong for this to happen? Also when was this written since it referenced the exile.

Yujin responds... Yes, it was wrong for them to comission non-Levites to be priests. But there is so much wrong with the scenarios presented in this chapter, this violation is but a tip of the ice-berg. The key verse is Judges 17:6, 

In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

They were not obeying the LORD, even though they thought they were.


Passage: Judges 16-18

On Friday, April 2, 2010 (Last Updated on 4/2/2012), Fernando wrote,

I can't make sense of samson's blindness. He knew quickly with his first fiance that he was betrayed. Did he really not catch on that his wife was betraying him? Or did he really not know what was the source of his strength?

Yujin responded... Great questions, Fernando! It appears from the text that he knew that his wife wanted to know the secret of his strength, but he did not know about the Philistines in hiding. It appears that before they showed themselves, he exhibited his strength. Only on the last occasion, when he revealed that his strength came from the LORD via his Nazirite vow (cf. Judges 13:4-7; 16:17), when he lost his strength, the Philistines revealed themselves from hiding and captured him. It appears that Samson knew the source of his strength, but never actually having been without it, he probably did not think that he could ever lose it. His strength was not primarily from his hair but from the LORD, and when Samson violated his life-long vow, God took away his strength. When he later repented and asked God for it back, God restored his strength, even as his hair also grew back.