And I finally get gumption to continue my study of the Judges of Israel. We come to a bizarre story just before the most horrifying story.
In this account of Judges 18, a man named Micah sets up an idol and randomly hires a Levite to be his priest. A troupe of guys from the tribe of Dan discover Micah's religion and start a war over it.
The text says that Dan's inheritance had not been set up yet. Perhaps this happened when Joshua was still conquering the land and they couldn't wait to be established. It had to be before Samson's time since he was from Dan and established that tribe pretty well.
It certainly happened when the Word of God was not as available or widespread. But any good Jewish boy would know the second commandment, that you don't worship the true God with images. He should know the story of the golden calf during Moses's time and the disaster that caused.
Also, Joshua always emphasized that you were not to have a private religion and come to God on your own terms. You were to come to God on his terms which was to meet at the tabernacle with the sacrifice to atone for your sins. Before Jesus came to die for our sins, you could not meet with God without having first dealt with your sins. You are too unholy to survive a holy God on your own.
So, God actually had mercy on Micah by not killing him right away like he did Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10. He just let him end up in some bizarre skirmish. This is a rare moment when Israel isn't fighting some oppressive foreigners. They are fighting each other which is a prelude to the more ghastly story that occurs in chapters 19 and 20. In those days, there was no king and people did what was right in their eyes.
So, we live in the New Testament now. Jesus has come and died for our sins and we can come to God because Jesus's blood has atoned for your sins. Do we still make the mistakes of Micah and the Danites today?
When the Word of God is put on the back burner and people follow their hearts, then yes we do. We start studying books people wrote in church rather than compare it directly with the Bible. And then we start reading stories of members of the Trinity portrayed as women who say that God cares too much about free will to call people to justice and that all people will be saved.
Again, the second commandment tells us to not portray God in ways he has not portrayed himself. He did send Jesus, but he is not to have an image assigned to him. He's God, so his will is way freer than ours, and if he did not tamper with our wills, then we would not repent and come to him. And we must never believe that he will save everyone because the letters to the Thessalonians and Revelation say that people who never repent will die in their sins. And we must never act this way because then there will be no reason to witness to people, share the Gospel, or care for the poor and oppressed or care about justice because God won't punish anyone anyway.
But if people follow this thinking, then they start accepting perverse lifestyles and saying that it's okay to kill unborn children and destroy the women who were their mothers. And then people start influencing children to change their genders, making permanent decisions they will regret later. And ultimately, God's name is profaned, and he will not let it slide.
We must get back to reading the Bible in its entirety. Old and New Testament. The bad news and the good. The parts we don't like or understand along with the more common verses. We have to know God and study his Words as a group and not start our own ideas. Let us repent and turn to him. He is so forgiving. Even perverse lifestyles and permanent mistakes can be forgiven if you would just turn to the Lord to be saved.