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. — Judges 18:27
As I surveyed the wall decorations in our daughter’s classroom on her first day of school as a sixth grader, I noticed an interesting poster. It pictured row after row of beautiful oranges and, in a row near the bottom, one beautiful green apple. The challenge printed on the poster was supporting individuality. Since our daughter was a Christian, I thought the poster was appropriate. However, on that first day, I did not have a hint as to how many times in the future I would think back to that poster. That year, the teacher routinely made it a practice to tear down our daughter’s Christian beliefs and standards. As the months wore on, I thought many times about the mindset that has become so prevalent in the world today — it is all right to be different, as long as the difference is not fundamental Christianity!
Why do people respond that way to fundamental Christians? We live in times of moral relativism where many think right and wrong seem to be “negotiable.” The Danites found themselves in that state at the time of today’s text. They had no regard for God’s law. Each tribe, including the Danites, had been told to conquer the territory allotted to them. Rather than fight for their God-given inheritance, the Danites took by force something that was not assigned to them.
Those around us may reject the necessity of following God’s instructions. However, we want to seek God’s help in resisting the thinking of the world. God has established right and wrong, and it is written in His Word. Let us challenge ourselves to live in obedience to His directions and to measure with His measurement. If we do, we will be “different,” but we will also be blessed with God’s true goodness.
The inheritance of the tribe of Dan had been assigned by Joshua, as had the inheritances of the rest of Israel (Joshua 19:51). However, the Danites did not overcome the inhabitants of their area (Judges 1:34), so they were overcrowded, and finally sent out spies to seek an easy place to conquer so they could expand. The spies traveled about one hundred miles north and found Laish, a city outside their allotted area.
Had the Danites truly been seeking God’s direction, they could have asked the high priest for guidance. However, they wanted to go outside of their assigned boundaries, and so the spies began their mission. When they met the Levite who was hired to be in Micah’s house, they consulted him. When the spies later returned with the army of six hundred men, they took Micah’s idols and told the Levite to come with them, which he did.
The inhabitants of Laish did not have treaties for protection, so they were an easy target. Although this was not a city that God had directed Israel to destroy, the Danites smote it and built their own city there.
The Danites set up Micah’s idols in their new city. Thus they became the first Israelite tribe to institute idolatry as their official system of religion. The Levite should have opposed the worship of these images, but he did not seem to have deep religious convictions. He was self-seeking, not God-seeking or God-fearing.
This account shows the degenerate state of Israel. By this time, they had been in the Promised Land for about three hundred years. Instead of conquering the ungodly inhabitants of the land, Israel had adopted their practices.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
A. Gross idolatry during the time of the judges
2. Danite idolatry (18:1-31)
a. The Danite search for an inheritance (18:1-10)
(1) The spies before Micah’s Levite (18:1-6)
(2) The spies at Laish (18:7)
(3) The spies report (18:8-10)
b. The Danite journey to Laish (18:11-31)
(1) The journey commenced (18:11-13)
(2) The robbery of Micah’s idol (18:14-26)
(3) The capture of Laish (Dan) (18:27-29)
(4) The establishment of idolatrous worship (18:30-31)
Let us remember that no matter how those around us think, obeying God always pays.