When my daughter was at school in Abilene Texas, we had several occasions to visit on weekends for school activities. On one occasion, we had some extra time so we went to visit Fort Phantom Hill which is about 15 miles north of the city. The fort was built to protect the westward-moving frontier of Texas settlement in the 1850s until it was abandoned by the army. Shortly after it was abandoned, a fire destroyed most of the log walls and thatched roofs of the fort but still standing to this day is the stone fire places and the stone jail house.
Stone will last a lifetime and beyond. If we build our life with the stones of God’s solid principles, they will last too. When we pray and arrange our activities each day as God leads, there is confidence because we are certain in every step we take because we will be involved in activities that lead to accomplishment of the plan. Today, we are planning with God as we read Judges 18.
In today’s passage, the Danites were seeking a place of their own to settle so they sent five men to spy out the land. They came to the hill country of Ephraim and spent the night at Micah’s house. It was there that they spoke to the Levite who was the priest of Micah. They probably didn’t understand why the priest would be isolated from a populated area and not serving a multitude of people but Israel was in an era of decline because of poor leadership.
The five spies went on to find that the rest of the land was good so they reported back that they should take the land. Six hundred men armed for battle were sent out. They came to the house of Micah again and this time took the idol overlaid with silver, ephod, household gods, and Jonathan (grandson of Moses) the priest.
Some men near where Micah lived got together and overtook the Danites. There was some arguments but Micah saw that the Danites were too strong so they went back home. This allowed the Danites to go on their way to Laish where they burned down the city.
The Danites rebuilt the city, settled there, and renamed the city Dan. Jonathan and his sons became the priests of the tribe of Dan but they set up the idols stolen from Micah to worship God. This demonstrates to us the corrupted era of decline during this time in Israel. God had given them victory but their behavior after the victory tells us they only had a symbolic relationship with Him.
One lesson learned from today’s reading is that we need to have more than just a symbolic relationship with God. We need to pray, have faith, and always do what God instructs in order to win our battles in life. Our relationship with God should be one in which we can work together with plans, decisions, and actions. Some in society will go to extremes for false rewards but the guaranteed reward is serving the true God!
This day with God, we seek a strong relationship so in our special undertakings we have a good plan that brings victory. God’s plan for us in Jesus is that plan. He is the Truth to set us free and provides a plan for us to step ahead on the pathway to victory. The pathway made of stone that will last forever. Amen