Judges 18:22-31

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 3, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“When they had gone some distance from Micah’s house, the men who lived near Micah were called together and overtook the Danites. As they shouted after them, the Danites turned and said to Micah, 'What’s the matter with you that you called out your men to fight?'
He replied, 'You took the gods I made, and my priest, and went away. What else do I have? How can you ask, ‘What’s the matter with you?’
The Danites answered, 'Don’t argue with us, or some of the men may get angry and attack you, and you and your family will lose your lives.' So the Danites went their way, and Micah, seeing that they were too strong for him, turned around and went back home.
Then they took what Micah had made, and his priest, and went on to Laish, against a people at peace and secure. They attacked them with the sword and burned down their city. There was no one to rescue them because they lived a long way from Sidon and had no relationship with anyone else. The city was in a valley near Beth Rehob.
The Danites rebuilt the city and settled there. They named it Dan after their ancestor Dan, who was born to Israel—though the city used to be called Laish. There the Danites set up for themselves the idol, and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land. They continued to use the idol Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.” (Judges 18:22-31)

For the context of this story, I encourage you to read my previous posts, like this one. The short version is that the Israelite tribe of Dan was not happy with the land that God gave them, so they were venturing out to conquer their own land, the territory of Laish. We were introduced to Micah and his idol here, and just before this text the Danites had gone to Micah’s house and stolen his silver idol.

So after the theft, Micah gathers some men who lived near him and they try to go after the Danites to get the idol back. Micah and his small band were able to overtake the Danites, since their large numbers, livestock, and children slowed them down more. The Danites pretended not to know why Micah was upset, but really they were just trying to hide their sin. Any thief should realize that the person they stole from would be upset once they discovered the theft. In this case, Micah is very outnumbered, so he is forced to just give up.

There’s an interesting parallel between this story and one about Abram in Genesis 14:10-16. This story takes place shortly after Abram and his nephew Lot had separated from each other, so it’s before God’s covenant with Abram (and his name change to Abraham), before Abram has any children, and before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sinfulness. In this brief story, Lot was captured by the 4 kings of Sodom and Gomorrah. Abram gathers together a very small army, and because God was on his side Abram’s small army overtook the kings and their companies and was able to rescue Lot and return the goods that the kings had stolen.

So what’s the main difference between what’s going on with Micah and the Danites, versus Abram and the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah? God. Abram’s small army was victorious because he was following the one true God. Micah’s small army was defeated and had to give up because they were following his idol, a false god. While the world will always say that larger numbers are better in an army, what really matters is whether that army is following God or a false idol. God is the one who brings victory.

So moving on in this story of the Danites, they were successful in capturing the town of Laish. We saw before that the people of Laish were basically sitting ducks. They were geographically isolated and had no one to help them, so that worked to the Danites’ advantage. The way they took over Laish is reminiscent of Abimelech’s revenge against Shechem in Judges 9:45-49; it was total destruction. Even though they were worshiping Micah’s idol instead of God in this instance, they were victorious; but it was at great cost, and they were still disobeying God by taking land that wasn’t given to them. Negative consequences don’t always come right away, but they will come in God’s timing.

The Danites continued to worship Micah’s idol instead of the one true God. This would not serve them well in the long run, since worshiping a piece of silver is completely worthless and pointless. The idol didn’t have any power to do anything for them, and they showed that it could be easily stolen. God, however, will never leave us nor forsake us, and He is all powerful.

What are you following with your life? Are you following the one true God, who truly can and will take care of you and provide for you? Or are you following something worthless, like Micah’s idol? Take a look at your life and see how you spend your time, your money, and your energy, and you’ll see what you’re really following.

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