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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Indications of a Fallen Nation
Date Posted: June 5, 2016

As I studied for our ladies Bible study class, I noticed some things that indicated a corrupt nation. I shivered when I noticed that our news is filled with examples like this. Oh, not every day, but you can still find examples of children disrespect of their parents, idol worship (whether that is money, family, occult, church work, etc. it’s all the same thing—making something more important than God), and greed for and taking what doesn’t belong to a person.

All the subcategories under these three things are touched on in these three chapters as well.

We’re dropped into the middle of a family quarrel.

Micah was a man from Ephraim. Evidently Momma discovered her considerable wealth of 1100 pieces of silver (27.5 lbs) had been stolen, and screeched a curse so loud her son heard it. The way this is worded, she probably screeched the curse over and over. Today’s value of silver is $16.29 per ounce. Doing the math, she had saved $7,167.60 in today’s money. Compare that to wages back in 1400 BC, well, we can’t because they had a barter system back then. A shekel weighs about .025 of a pound, so if we figure from the Egyptian day’s wages of about one quarter of an ounce of silver per day, she had about 5 years of Egyptian wages (figured at 350 days because the years back then weren’t 365 days).

The Curse

A righteous person when faced with disaster will fall to knees and beg God for help. Even most unrighteous people will do the same. So often God brings a person to his knees through disastrous circumstances. But a wicked person will curse and cuss a stormy tirade. She cursed loud and long, and her son heard and trembled.

He had no guilt or concern about stealing from his mother. Twenty-seven plus pounds of silver, what was he thinking? He knew his mother probably had a weekly ritual of counting her money. He knew her well enough to know that she idolized money otherwise why had she horded so much? The money was her security blanket. When it went missing, she went into a tizzy.

This curse pronounced upon the money itself scared him enough for him to admit his guilt and give the money back.

Oh wait!! That’s not the cream.

She was so thrilled to get her money back, she “dedicated” it all to the LORD… wait for it … dedicated it to make an idol of wood to be covered over with silver, so she “restored” it to her son. Interestingly, the son restored the money to his mother, which she restored to him. That word restored means in the root to turn back, turn away. That doesn’t necessarily mean to go back to the starting point. We Christians are fond of saying that repenting is doing that 180 degree turn back, away from the current path to damnation, definitely not to the starting point. Isn’t that an interesting choice of words here?

The Idol

So she gave it to a silversmith to make the idol and then she gave the idol to her son. What a lovely gift and legacy (said with tongue in cheek). She has left her progeny with something empty, that has no eyes to see and no ears to hear, and no hand to help. Just an empty thing.

The Levite

Scene 2

Here we see a young man from the tribe of Judah who lived in Judah, namely Bethlehem, but called himself a Levite. He did not descend from Aaron, so he could not actually serve as priest. However, he should have been put into service of God in the priesthood, but the people were not obeying the law, tithing as they should, so he had to look for a place to work and live. Micah offered him a salary, food, and clothing as his own priest. Jonathan accepted. The Levites scattered all over Israel in 48 cities given to them by the different tribes for them to live in and to pasture their livestock. Their job was to make sure the Israelites knew and followed the Law.

Jonathan didn’t know the Law and didn’t enforce it.

Micah ordained Jonathan as his priest. Leviticus 8 tells us there was quite a ceremony to ordain a priest. They had to be consecrated with blood from a sacrifice, they had to stay inside for seven days upon pain of death if they stepped outside. Since Jonathan didn’t obey the Law, his position as a priest was in name only. But Micah, the thief and idol worshiper, thought God would bless him because he had his own priest.

The Danites

This part tells us that all these happenings took place before Deborah judged Israel. Judges 5 tells us that the Danites had already settled in their northern lands along the coast: Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan; and Dan, why did he stay with the ships? Asher sat still at the coast of the sea, staying by his landings. The tribe of Dan had not done its duty in the early days and had not taken its inheritance (Judges 18:1). Or perhaps they had outgrown their land, needing additional space. They were lazy and looking for easy pickings. They spied out Laish, quiet, unsuspecting, peaceful, prosperous, far from help of the Sidonians. Easy pickin’s.

But first, five spies from Dan came to the house of Micah and stayed the night there. Evidently they recognized Jonathan’s accent was not of Ephraim. So they asked and found out all about him.

These five spies asked the priest if God would help them succeed on their journey (or quest to find more land). Jonathan no more asked God than he did the man in the moon. Immediately he told them to, “Go in peace, God’s eyes are on you.” We know he spoke truth because God is absolutely all seeing. But he just told them what they wanted to hear.

Song of Solomon 600 men set out on an easy conquest. On their way back to ravage the land for themselves, the Danites stopped by Micah’s house and stole his idols and his priest. They appealed to Jonathan’s pride and greed asking if it was better to be a priest to many rather than one man.

Micah chases after them and says, “And he said, "You take my gods that I made and the priest, and go away, and what have I left? How then do you ask me, 'What is the matter with you?'"

Oh, my! He had emptiness before, and now his emptiness was larger. Last time I checked, zero times zero is still zero.

So this army of 600 (plus their women and children) descended on Laish, the unsuspecting, quiet people, and destroyed them with the sword. That is not so bad, but bear in mind this was not land given to the tribe of Dan by God. However, there wasn’t any king, no one was obeying the Law, and everyone did what was right in their own eyes… so…

The Danites renamed Laish Dan, and set up their idols using Jonathan and his sons as their priests. Jonathan descended from Moses, the text says. But there is a play on words in the original Hebrew. The name Moses is changed by the letter “n” raised to indicate Manasseh. That indicates a later insertion after King Manasseh, who was such an evil and debased king, had lived. This showed deference to Moses, and gave an illustration of the base character of Jonathan. It also tells the sad, sad story that the Danites lived in depravity and spiritual adultery until the day the Assyrians took them captive.

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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