There were two brothers born in Scotland, John and David. Both were godly men and lived upright lives. John, migrated to Canada and was so successful that he became the wealthiest man in Ontario. His brother chose a life of fulltime service for the Lord, following His call to the unexplored continent of Africa. In the world’s eyes, John made the wiser choice, leaving a great financial legacy for his family.
David Livingstone gave his life to share Christ with every African he met. Volumes have been written on the life and death of David. John was highly respected in his own right, but what is interesting is that every article about him, his brother David is mentioned, and most times written more about than John. In the Sydney Morning Herald of June 1900, an obituary piece on John, who died September 6, 1899, in a full column of 14 paragraphs, David is the prominent character written about.
The world’s idea of success is very different than God’s! That should be no surprise, however, when children of God allow the number 1 position in their heart to anyone or anything but God, idolatry takes place and the impact is both obvious and perverting.
To review: Jud 18:1-13 - The Danites have decided to go and take land that was not given by God to them for their inheritance. Their spies have found the Levite that was hired by Micah (Judges 17) to be his personal priest. The Levite has given these spies assurance that God is on their side. We have seen two results of idolatry:
#1 Your most important question becomes: What is in it for me?
#2 You seek Vindication not Truth!
The spies reported:
“When you enter, you will come to a secure people with a spacious land; for God has given it into your hand”
God gets blamed for many things that He never led in! This was not the Land that God had given Dan; just because they were successful does not mean God inspired it!
I remember a couple I ministered to as a Pastor. Every year they flew to Vegas, she would lay hands on the slot machine and pray in tongues, he would pull the lever. They always came back winners, which convinced them that God was leading them to do that! They learned to trust in the slot machine and it surfaced years later as their marriage dissolved and they both left the Lord. The enemy was completely successful, but God caught the blame!
There is a very big difference between our idea of success and God's. In the world’s eyes Job had everything, he was also very godly, but God desired to develop even more in his character. Success defined by God to Isaiah & Jeremiah was to go and preach…but know that none will listen! They succeeded completely, yet to the prosperity gospel peddlers today, they would be considered failures!
Here are just some of the dangers of human success:
Built on that which is temporal - God's is eternal
Matthew 16:26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
Does not really take into consideration the cost. Cost must include accountability to our Creator.
Luke 14:28 "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him,
Used as the vindication of actions.
Judges 18:14-20 Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish said to their kinsmen, “Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod and household idols and a graven image and a molten image? Now therefore, consider what you should do.” They turned aside there and came to the house of the young man, the Levite, to the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the sons of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. Now the five men who went to spy out the land went up and entered there, and took the graven image and the ephod and household idols and the molten image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war. When these went into Micah’s house and took the graven image, the ephod and household idols and the molten image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” They said to him, “Be silent, put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” The priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod and household idols and the graven image and went among the people.
How the Danites and the Levite justify themselves is such a typical response produced by idolatry. Look at the moral compass of this Levite, which is clearly broken! In the midst of living a life that is so wrong according to the Scriptures he is suppose to preach, when he discovers the theft of the images notice what happens:
When these went into Micah’s house and took the graven image, the ephod and household idols and the molten image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?”
He can ignore the moral bankruptcy in his life…until…that same kind of sin affects him!
Luke 6:32–33 “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. “If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
The Danites counter with a “better deal” and that placates this Levite:
They said to him, “Be silent, put your hand over your mouth and come with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” The priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod and household idols and the graven image and went among the people.
He joins in on the stealing…which illustrates the third affect of idolatry on a heart:
#3 Dedication goes to highest bidder
When God is not number 1 in our heart, where we stand will be based on convenience, not conviction. We do not think from the eternal perspective, and we will sell ourselves to the highest temporal bidder. This is exactly what Judas Iscariot did!
Meditation: What is the “bottom line” in your life? When you think about the future, how far do you see; 10 years, 30 years, 50 years…how about 1 billion years? There is a very old saying:
Still as of old, Man by himself is priced. For 30 pieces, Judas sold himself, not Christ!
Make sure you are thinking eternally,
not here and now only!