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Dud gods (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
February 5, 2021 6:00 am

Dud gods (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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February 5, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Book of Judges (Judges 18)

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What do you do when you're just fed up with the faith of God as a Christian, as a born-again Christian, just tired of so many failures and setbacks and disappointments?

What do you do? You keep going. In the face of whatever is bothering you, you keep your devotions going. You keep praying. You keep fellowshipping. You keep walking with Christ.

Because there is nothing hell can do to stop that kind of Christian. What do you do when you're just fed up with the faith of God as a Christian, as a born-again Christian, just tired of so many failures and disappointments and disappointments? What do you do? You keep going.

What do you do? What do you do when you're just fed up with the faith of God as a Christian, as a born-again Christian, just tired of so many failures and disappointments and disappointments and disappointments and disappointments and disappointments and disappointments? And coming to church and worshiping together is supposed to strengthen us to do these things.

And we need to be reminded of this, especially now, where again, you are free to riot, not keep your social distance as you attack police officers. But you're not free to worship. And I know you didn't come here to hear all that, but I just had to get it out. I want to stay focused on what's happening because all of God's Word matters. It's not just a Bible story. That's how these characters treated the Bible. That's why they continued with their little figurines and their dud gods. Because they had the Bible, but it wasn't real enough to them, so they cherry-picked what they liked and they threw away everything else. Not only did they throw away everything else, but they corrupted what they could. The dud gods and idol nappers, like kidnappers.

These guys stole idols. That's because they thought they had a better way than God's way. Today there are Christless experts who are the pagan priests of the world. They think they know how we should live and go about our lives. When it comes, of course, to morality and spirituality, they are wrong. They're deadly wrong. Then there are the obsequious Christians, or professed Christians, who carry their water, who mingle what the experts say about life and society and God.

They mingle it and then they take it to the church. And they're spewed out from pulpits and received gleefully in the pews. These experts tell us the Bible is wrong, cannot be trusted, but their way is right. They can be trusted when they assail the scripture.

And it's gobbled up by some. These experts, again, without solutions for the damage from their own immorality that we have to deal with, as I mentioned, whoever the people were that took notes and compiled them and eventually others got those notes and put them into the form we have now known as Judges. And other books of the Bible experience the same things.

Likely much of it was oral in the beginning until it was put in print. And as they had to deal with the immorality surrounding them, caused by those who felt that they had a better way than God, so must we. Despite the dark ages when the popes came along and seized Europe by the throat and tried to destroy Christianity by mingling in so much paganism, you didn't know what was what. To this day it survives. Evil does not die a natural death.

God will have to kill it one day. But for now, we've got to deal in the midst of it and we are grateful that even in the midst of this present darkness, people can get to heaven and be used as part of that process. How different these last five chapters of Judges would be if the people truly looked to God instead of just tinkered with him. Looking at verse 1 of Judges 18, in those days there was no king in Israel and in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for itself to dwell in. For until that day, their inheritance among the tribes of Israel had not fallen to them.

In those days. That's a commentary. That comment is a commentary on failed leadership. Remember our study through Joshua, Judges, and Ruth is the conquest, the failure, and the hope, the conquest in the book of Joshua speaks of the conquest of the Christian life to take territory for God in the sense of preaching the gospel and fighting our own carnality. And then of course here the book of Judges, the repeated failure of the people to submit to God. And then in the book of Ruth we have the hope that is found and that reaches all the way forward to the Messiah and all that that means to humanity. And so this repeated word, in those days there was no king in Judges 17, 19, and 25 as well as here in 18, 21, Judges 21. Those four times it is mentioned because the compiler of Judges is looking back at the period of the judges and he's saying they didn't have a king, there was no ruler then. But we also know this, the days of the kings were worse. Not entirely, but largely, the entire northern kingdom was lost.

There were remnant Jews up there of course, the remnant righteous, there always are, but overall they were sold out, the leaders up there. Well who should have been in charge of Israel? Who should be in charge of mankind? Who should be in charge of me? Isn't this a fair question? Who is the boss?

Well we know, the righteous know, it's God, it's the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Peter and Paul, our God. God should have been king in Israel, as Moses said, and his word should have been the law of the land. Neither two were readily acceptable to the people, to the majority overall.

They preferred to do their own thing. So when the last judge comes along and he deals with the first king, he has to rebuke him. He has to tell him to his face. Samuel said, has Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of Yahweh, behold it is better to obey than sacrifice, to heed than the fat of rams. He's telling the king, when it comes to God, it's about obedience, not playing religion.

Now Saul never got that lesson, he didn't want it. Peter echoes it in his first letter, in the second letter in the first chapter, he says, we have the prophetic word confirmed, we have the God-spoken word, the God-breathed word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place. How do we miss that verse? How do so many churches and whole denominations, Christian individuals, how do we miss the Holy Spirit saying about the scripture, which you do well to heed? To act upon it, to do something with it other than dismiss it and ignore it or find it something else to do. What do you do when you're just fed up with the faith, with God as a Christian, as a born again Christian, just tired of so many failures and setbacks and disappointments.

What do you do? You keep going. In the face of whatever is bothering you, you keep your devotions going, you keep praying, you keep fellowshipping, you keep walking with Christ, because there is nothing hell can do to stop that kind of Christian. And this is the lesson from the scripture, this is the whole thing why we adore those men in the furnace. Even if the Lord doesn't answer us, King, we're not following your gods. But idle, infested societies refuse the message, we suffer because of it, but we also work in the midst of it and that's where souls are saved.

I think many churchgoers don't want to hear this. He says here in verse 1, and in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for itself to dwell. Well they fled, not all of it, not the entire tribe of Dan, it's going to be about 600 men, about a thousand people, a little over a thousand people are going to relocate out of this territory because they could not put down the Canaanites, which probably the Philistines were the particular brand of Canaanites, may have been the Amorites too. So they're going to relocate, flee their allotment, and it is because they refused to submit to God that God wasn't acting for them. So they felt, I'm sure, justified in how they butchered their own faith. Their behavior, the behavior of these characters in these last five chapters, make it very easy for the Bible student to pick them apart. We should have no problem picking them apart, saying well this is wrong and that is wrong.

The problem is, of course, is that I do not want to be filled with pride myself. And in those days the tribe of Dan was seeking an inheritance for itself to dwell, for until that day their inheritance among the tribes of Israel had not fallen to them. That means that they did not subdue it. They received their allotment. It was a rich land that they received too. It even had oceanfront property, 20 miles of oceanfront property. They had nothing to complain about, even though it was one of the smaller lots.

It was nice. It was fertile. So fertile that we find Samson in vineyards, we find Samson taking honey from the carcass of a lion.

Life was there, the land flowing with milk and honey. But the Philistines, of course, they resisted and the Danites, many of them, had given up on God. You cannot resist God and resist the enemy at the same time and expect to succeed. When James said God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, well who are the proud? Those who exalt themselves. And in this case, the Danites that were into dud gods, they had exalted themselves.

They decided what God would look like, never mind, he said, don't do this, I'm the boss. James continues, he says, therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Oh, he'll be back, but you still have to resist him. So you cannot, again, you cannot resist God and resist the enemy and expect to prevail.

It would be something wrong with your religion, it would be something wrong with your mind to have that approach. Dan's territory, incidentally, about twice the size of Manhattan, and you may say, well, how big is Manhattan? Well, at the church you can Google it. Judges chapter 1 verse 34 and Judges 1, we go back to about, this is the time that these events were taking place back in Judges chapter 1, again, we covered that last session. The Amorites forced the children of Dan into the mountains for they would not allow them to come down to the valley. The Amorites, they felt this was good territory and they weren't giving it up. The Danites should have said, yeah, this is really good territory and we are going to take it. But they did not, and we know why.

Don't blame God. Blame them for not walking with the Lord, wanting to live life their way and have God bless them. Verse 2, so the children of Dan sent five men of their family from their territory, men of valor, to Zorah to spy out the land and search it and said to them, go search the land. And they went to the mountains of Ephraim to the house of Micah and lodged there. Their motto was, we can't beat them, leave them.

Well, sometimes you have to do that. The Puritans had to run from persecution, for example, others too. But that's not here. Relocation was not an option. Their land was God-ordained. They were to take that land. They were to subdue it.

And the fault was theirs. Now where it says, so what they're taking five spies, they're sending them up to, out of the land, to spy out territory that they can relocate some of them to, put a Danite settlement there. These spies are going to mingle amongst the people that they're going to later kill.

And of course, pillage and plunder will be part of it. It says that they were men of valor. We use that word, valor, as though they were courageous, heroic men, virtuous men on the field of battle, I guess.

Well, that's kind of poetic. But anyway, it means that they were of military age. They could have been fierce men or not so fierce. These happen to be, you know, somewhat tough guys, but not against their enemies, not against formidable enemies.

They're going to be very tough against people who are too weak to defend themselves and their own brethren, but not against the Amorites and the Philistines. They're going to end up a hundred miles away from their hometown. It's too bad because here in the dense territory, once upon a time, hell fell from heaven like artillery to take out the enemy of God's people. And now that was just something to forget. Almost every time when I drive home, I drive over a battlefield from the Civil War where over 1,400 men lost their lives, storming the Union entrenchments there, that Beaver Dam Creek.

I don't even think it's a mile from here, maybe. And what I'm saying is we forget that something dramatic took place here. And in the biblical context of that thought, the Danites should have said, wait a minute. One time, Joshua was in our allotment and said, son, stand still. And the sun and the moon stopped doing their work, and God sent artillery to take out the enemy.

We, we should try to get back to that place, but we don't read of that happening. In fact, later, because it says here in verse 2, they were from Zorah Eshtaol, Samson, there and at this very place, the Bible tells us that the Spirit of the Lord began to move upon him there. But Samson comes much later. Samson was also buried there. Samson's story indicates, because this was where he roamed, that there was a large Philistine presence there. You remember the women of Timnah and all the other Philistines that belong to his story. It continues here at the bottom of verse 2, so they went through the mountains of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. Now here again is Micah, and he has that Levite priest that he hired, who was his personal chaplain. And among other sins, these two worshiped Yahweh with idols, or I should say they worshiped idols with Yahweh's name. And they had the shrine, which was forbidden and many other things. And the Danite scouts, they probably come to Micah's house because it was a good rest stop, a known one, because Micah was probably showing off his priest and shrine to those in that area. It was a religious sanctuary.

So that would have been the draw for them. Let's pull over and get some prayer on the way, boys. Verse 3, while they were at the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. They turned aside and said to him, who brought you here? What are you doing in this place?

What do you have here? There's a rapid succession of questions. He's a young man. He's probably intimidated by these guys, asking him all these questions. Why are you doing this to me? He's not old enough to say, who are you? You know, you get older, you get that way.

You see what's happening to a lot of things, you don't become jaded with life and people and ministry, but hopefully you learn. Anyhow, this Levite, we first find out he spent time in Bethlehem of Judah. He's probably from a different Levitical town, one of the cities of refuge or other territories of the Levites. So he's bouncing around, but evidently he also spent some time in Dan's territory.

Now he's in Ephraim's territory, so he's a rolling stone. And they recognized his voice, which can mean either they picked up a dialect or they recognized his voice. Maybe he has like a J. Vernon McGee, a distinct voice. J. Vernon would even make jokes about it. He tells one story about it.

He was in a gas station. He asked a question and somebody said, are you Vernon McGee? I listen to you on the radio.

I never could miss that voice. And anyway, they say, you know, we know you. I think that's what happened. I think they knew him. And they turned their attention to him, asking him these questions. Verse 4, he said to them, thus and so Micah did for me. I'm glad they left out the details.

We get them in 17, chapter 17. Thus and so Micah did for me. He has hired me and I have become his priest.

Huh? Whose priests are you? His priests.

Micah's priests, not God's. Well, by this they would now know, well, he can be bought. I don't think that they thought that far along yet.

They will come back to it later. But they knew he was a hired priest, a personal chaplain for this man Micah, who evidently is not here at the moment. Had they been businessmen, they would, when they go to recruit him, they'd say, what's he paying you?

And would have hired him away. But they have other means to do that. Verse 5, so they said to him, please inquire of God that we may know whether the journey on which we go will be prosperous. Well, they didn't have a problem with him being a chaplain for Micah and not being a Levite at Shiloh where the tabernacle was. That didn't bother them, no.

They only wanted a blessing. And not once do we find the question, what does the Lord want with us? No one in the last five chapters seems too interested in that.

We'll get to some of it in the next few, in the coming scenes, but not here. And God's morality, of course, would have been an issue for them. That will come out in the story because these men will steal the idols and the priest. But many want a God-lantern where God just exists to illuminate their glorious path.

While God does not rule over them. Verse 6, and the priest said to them, go in peace the presence of Yahweh be with you on your way. So he pronounces a blessing on them.

The Lord bless you, my son. I said, well, who doesn't want to hear that? I mean, I had Chinese food for lunch and I got to my fortune cookie. And I ate the cookie, but without the little fortune, because we all know they're so accurate.

Anyway, mine says, something good is going to happen to you in a moment. Well, who doesn't want to hear that? I mean, we would stop buying Chinese food if they told us the truth about things. So they just fed their carnality with his carnality. He worked for Micah and his idols, but not Yahweh. So he forfeited any right to speak on behalf of Yahweh, but he did not think so.

So telling them what they wanted to hear, and they, of course, were happy with that. What if he would have rebuked them? Well, he couldn't. Later on, when they steal the idols, what can he say? Thou shalt not steal. They could counter with, you shall not bow down to graven images. So that's where his forfeiture lies. But of course, trampling, that he tells them, God bless you, and they make it and then eventually take the village of Laish or the city of, does not make him a prophet. Their victory was predictable.

They were spying out land that they could take. There was nothing spiritual about that, not in a righteous spiritual sense. Thanks for tuning in to Cross Reference Radio for this study in the book of Judges. Cross Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. If you'd like more information about this ministry, we invite you to visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. You'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick available there, and we encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. By doing so, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross Reference Radio. You can search for Cross Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app, or just follow the links at crossreferenceradio.com. That's all the time we have for today. Join us next time to continue learning more from the book of Judges, right here on Cross Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-27 13:34:08 / 2023-12-27 13:45:26 / 11

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