Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Can It Get Any Worse?

Judges 17-18

Don't know about you, but when I read through Judges, I am struck by how the people only behave (at least in public) when they have a strong leader i.e. a judge in place. Once he (or she) goes, they descend into idolatry and chaos again. There seems to be no godly self-governing principle and (therefore) no appetite for transmitting the knowledge of God to the next generation.

Today's reading brings this whole theme to the fore. Not only do the people refuse to listen to God and do what's right in their own eyes but even Jonathan, the grandson of Moses, the mighty man of God, who led the people out of Egypt, is happy to serve as a Levite in Micah's house and does not tell him to rid himself of his household gods.

(Some translations say Manassah - Jordan says that the original is unclear in some manuscripts and therefore translated this way because the Israelites couldn't bring themselves to write Moses - connecting him with such apostasy was a shameful testimony to how far they had fallen.)

Moses went nuts when he came down the mountain and the nation had built a golden calf. His grandson however, seems to have no problem with this syncretism - making an offering to the LORD and then turning it into a carved image, in direct disobedience of the second commandment.

What's even more chilling is that Heaven is silent all through this episode. The only thing worse than God confronting you for disobedience is when he leaves you alone so that you can puff yourself up in the vanities of your own imagination fattening yourself up for greater judgement in the end (Ps.73:7,18).

Me thinks it's time for a king to bring some order! Not long from now, they will have one, but once again, it will all get off to a sorry start. If only they would humble themselves and not be stiff-necked before their God.

We may not have "household gods" like they did - but we are naive if we think that our attitudes are naturally any better than theirs were. Let the Word of God (Micah 6:8, 1 Pet.5:6) and not the roaming eyes of your heart be the guide for your soul and the souls of the generations that flow from your body.

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