Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
Images (Part 10)
Priests For Hire
Now this man Micah had a shrine... and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest. In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah, left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way he came to Micah's house in the hill country of Ephraim.
Micah asked him, 'Where are you from?'
'I'm a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,' he said, 'and I'm looking for a place to stay.'
Then Micah said to him, 'Live with me and be my father and priest, and I'll give you ten shekels of silver a year, your clothes and your food.'
Judges 17:5-10 (NIV)*
Within the Book of Judges are several stories with a common theme: 'Everyone did what was right in his own eyes' (Judges 17:6,21:25). It was a time of self-service and idol-worship. Although God's people knew better, morality became relative to each man's neighbors, place, occupation and desires.**
In those days, a young priest from Bethlehem left home to find a better life: not better in God, but better in lifestyle. He accepted a position in the wealthy household of Micah. Micah knew God, but he also loved idols.
When the young priest agreed to his offer, Micah thought God agreed with his life. Because God's priest did not rebuke his idols. Instead, he included them in worship. Sometime later, a large tribe of Jews passed by the house of Micah. They were men on the prowl: prepared for war, seeking a home, looking for loot.
When they met Micah's priest, he blessed them: 'Go in peace. Your journey has the Lord's approval' (Judges 18:6). So they offered the priest a bigger congregation, and he took it, along with Micah's idols (which the looters stole).
Actors, models and talent for Christ: I fear we live in a similar time: a time of self-seeking, idol worship and double-minded preachers. They know God, but love idols. Consequently, they don't rebuke idolatry, but practice it. Like Micah's young priest, a direct descendent of Abraham and Aaron, they sold out for better lifestyles and bigger congregations. Obviously, yielding to this temptation hits the best of families.
I'm not pointing fingers, lest they point back at me. I can't see hearts, but I can see fruit. Today's church is blessed with some deeply committed leaders. Even so, we must be on guard against 'priests for hire.'
Because priests are what you are: 'You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light' (1 Peter 2:9).
Concerning common household gods, ask the Lord of Hosts to reveal them. Then discard them.
To Be Continued...
* Read the entire story of the young priest who sold his services to an idol-worshipping family, then again for a bigger congregation: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges+17-18&version=NIV
** Previous AMTC Devotion Series on Moral Relativity: http://amtcdevotions.org/moral-relativity-aka-whatever-part-1
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Images series.