Judges 18:1-31 – Don’t Be Hollow

Read Judges 18:1-31

hollow logs cut and laying on the ground

I wondered where they’d been all this time. Not really! I didn’t even know they were missing. That is, this was news to me that the tribe of Dan had never made it to the coast to claim their land. The tribe of Dan would have been given land to the West of Ephraim, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The lands of Judah and Benjamin also shared a border to the Southeast.

We do hear again of the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol. These towns were in the same vicinity where the events of Samson’s life took place. I understand they are found in Judah. To be in Ephraim, to meet with the Levite in Micah’s house, they had traveled north a ways.

Here’s an interesting note to ponder. Levitical priests were only supposed to “do their thing” within the confines of a tabernacle or designated city. To be doing “priestly” things in a house would be outside of the scope of acceptable behavior. That wasn’t the only thing this young Levite was going to get wrong. What did you think about his choice to leave Micah’s house?

It wasn’t like the 600 armed men took the priest by force. But they did seem to lure him by having taken the idols from Micah’s house. A truly holy priest would have smashed the idols long before now! I got the impression that this Levite was drawn to them or at least too tolerant of them to destroy them.

I was a little confused with “They turned and started on their way again, placing their children, livestock, and possessions in front of them.” I thought these men had come to fight and conquer. There was no mention until now that they brought their children and livestock along. That seemed a little out of place, but it’s probably one of those examples of where I just nod and say, “God is in control. Don’t sweat the details!”

The tribe of Dan, or a portion thereof, will settle here in what was the town of Laish. It’s clear, these Israelites were not following the LORD. They were attracted by fertile land that took little work and a lifestyle of peace and security. After destroying the inhabitants found living there, they moved in. “Then they set up the carved image, and they appointed Jonathan son of Gershom, son of Moses, as their priest.”

Again, we see how these idols played a huge role in the “spirituality” of the people of that day. I don’t really think it was much of a “religion” but more of a self-serving focus for reward combined with survival with no commitment or reverence to God. That sounds like such a hollow way to live. At least to me.

What great priestly lineage here, being descendent from Moses! It just goes to show that in the generations to follow, some traditions or belief systems don’t continue. The idol remains. We should be crying out to God! “Fill us up, God. We don’t want to be hollow!”

Where is God? Isn’t that the question the Israelites should be asking one of these days? If the pattern is still repeating, the people will soon be crying out for God’s help. Sometimes I feel like crying out, “God, rescue us from this insanity!” Well, confession time. I do more than “feel like” doing that. I do it. Often. We all should.

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Lord, rescue me from this insanity. At times I feel like the world is crashing in around us. At every turn there is something that just rubs me wrong. My spirit is weary from so much hatred and lack of healthy communication. I see idols springing up all around. Keep me safe. Guard my mind. Use me to shine your light. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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