I. The Story of Micah (Judges 17-18:6)
The last chapters of Judges are not in a chronological order, but rather the chapters are presented in a moral order — which allows God to show us the moral decline in Israel at the time. This is similar to the 4 gospels that have the same accounts, but they are not presented in the same order. These things are presented to us with a moral significance.
Joshua 18: The tent of meeting was set up provisionally in Shiloh as God’s meeting place for worship. The high priest was in Shiloh. Micah did not go to Shiloh to worship the Lord. He stole from his mother, but then his mother blessed him anyway. The mother purposed to make idols, such that this was not a godly household at all. What did this household understand about the ways of Jehovah?
Micah decided to have a house of idols (or gods), and he thought it would be good to consecrate his son to be a priest in his house. In the books of Moses (especially Exodus and Leviticus), we learn that GOD is the only one who chooses priests. Moses became the leader of the people, and then God chose Aaron to be a priest (and subsequently Aaron’s sons). This was the Aaronic order of priesthood. Aaron was of the tribe of Levi, and from this tribe came the priests in Israel. It was from a certain family within the tribe of Levi — not all Levites! In Micah’s day “every man did what was right in his own eyes” (vs. 6). Professed Christians do much the same by choosing “priests,” when they follow the example of Micah.
II. The Levite, Priests, and Worship
The Levite had a special service to take care of God’s things, but not all were priests. This Levite comes to Micah’s house, and seeing this Levite come along, Micah makes him a priest in his house (instead of his son). In Israel, there were no private priests in someone’s house. Micah arranged to pay him. Do we not see something similar to a paid priest in Christianity today? We have things like this today.
Today, who are priests? Every believer is a priest!
“To him who loves us, and has washed us from our sins in his blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father: to him [be] the glory and the might to the ages of ages. Amen”(Revelation 1:5-6).
Everyone who has been washed from their sins “in His blood” is a priest. They are not constituted by some select family or tribe or seminary. It is not either by human ordination. Today, every believer is a priest. Every believer is a purged worshipper!
Micah is very focused on what the Levite is able to do for him. “Now I know that Jehovah will do me good, because I have the Levite for priest” (vs. 13). When we hire a priest, and make an order which looks like the Old Testament, it makes things look legitimate to the natural man. Man feels he is getting something out of it for himself. However, it is not the scriptural order for believers.
Part of the Christian order can be seen in the example of the Lord’s Supper, or also as in the Acts when the believers came together to sing hymns. That does not seem like much order to many, but it is revealed to us in God’s word. We often hear of believers holding a worship service. But this is confusion because worship is not service — and service is not worship. They are distinct.
What is worship? Worship is not making ourselves the object. It has to do with who the Lord is and how He deserves praise! It is magnifying Him for who He is and what He has done! Acknowledging and bowing before His Person. It is not what we can do for the Lord, for that would be our service!
We may come together and offer a mixture of worship and praise (giving thanks for what He has done for us).
Why do we meet on the Lord’s day? Because we have been told to do so! It is just as simple as that. We should have no other ulterior motives (denominational affiliation, the sound of the choir, the friends that we have there, our grandparents did it, etc). Micah did things for what he could get out of it, but we do not do this. We meet on the Lord’s day with Christ as our sole object!
III. The Danites (Judges 18)
Background information: When the Israelites came into Canaan, the Lord designated through Joshua what the boundaries were in the land. Jehovah gave them their inheritance, but each tribe had to go forth and possess the land according to the might of Jehovah to fight for them. However, the Danites never managed to drive the enemies from their territory (the inheritance that the Lord had given them). The enemies forced the Danites into the mountains, which was to their shame. Here they send an exploratory party to go forth and find for themselves an inheritance elsewhere.
vs. 18:3 – They ask why the Levite is there, and what he is doing there. What a question!
There are sects of Christians who hire priests (or pastors, or ministers, etc) for themselves. Is this not a question for them also? How did you get here?
They are there because they took the job regardless of God’s word. When the tribe of Dan brings him along to be a priest for the tribe (vs. 18:19), his heart led him to accept the promotion. A true believer would have been obedient to God’s order. He was not a priest in the beginning according to God’s law.
If a believer was asked to be the priest (or pastor, or minister, etc) of a group of believers, a true godly believer would answer: “No, we are all priests, and we are all to worship God. You should not have just one person to conduct the worship of the whole assembly of believers. As we are all priests, we should not give only one place for it in the meeting of believers!” and etc. That would be a faithful reply. But, alas! Our hearts are much the same as that Levite in the day of Judges!
Who conducts worship in the assembly of believers? The Holy Spirit leads!
This is not related to some pre-programmed order that is determined by believers beforehand, but it is God who brings forth praise from our hearts on a given Lord’s day morning. We cannot displace the leading of the Holy Spirit through the position and ordination of a priest, pastor, or minister. God takes our weakness and magnifies His strength in grace to order our worship. Even in a day of declension and confusion, there is still room to be faithful to God, His order, and His way! In the simplicity of faith, we can continue to worship the Lord as constituted priests, through the Lord’s Supper, “until He come” (1 Cor. 11:26).