The Book of Judges tells many stories of the time when God’s people “had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges chapter 17 verse 6).
In one of those stories, Judges talks about a young Levite who comes across a man named Micah (not the prophet!) who offered him a full-time job to serve as a priest in Micah’s home where there is an idol made from 200 shekels of silver.
Micah tells this Levite, “Live with me and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels of silver a year, your clothes and your food” (Judges chapter 17 verse 10). The Levite took this opportunity and agreed. Micah was happy thinking to himself, “Now I know the Lord will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest” (Judges chapter 17 verse 13).
Micah clearly had no understanding of who God is and he’s certainly not keen on having a relationship with God either. Micah thought that he could buy God’s blessings.
The Levite, on the other hand, ironically also had no clue about who God is and he’s far from a right relationship with God. It’s ironic because Levites are the ones who God chose to carry the sacred office of priesthood.
This young Levite, knowing that Micah’s proposal goes against God’s will, accepts it anyway. The thought of getting paid ten shekels of silver, or the opportunity to be in-charge of conducting religious and sacred activities in a household was very enticing.
Micah’s happiness doesn’t seem to last long because in the next chapter, we read about a group of Danites who happen to stumble across the Levite and then they offered him a more lucrative proposal.
The Danites were passing through Micah’s place and when they saw the Levite they asked him, “Please inquire of God to learn whether our journey will be successful” (Judges chapter 18 verse 5), and the Levite gives his approval that God will protect them.
The Danites found a great land to settle in, and – feeling quite confident – goes back to Micah’s place to take some of his precious possessions: “the ephod, the household gods and the idol” (Judges chapter 18 verse 20). The Danites also took the young Levite by offering him a glamourous position: “Come with us, and be our father and priest. Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?” (Judges chapter 18 verse 19).
And the young Levite, obviously, said ‘yes’.
When ministry becomes your career ambition
This story reminds me that religious leaders are not immune from the lure of fame. It’s the Pastors, Preachers, men and women who dedicate their lives to serving God, who are susceptible to falling into temptation.
Often, we may disguise our holiness as humility but deep down, we’re using ministry opportunities: our giftedness in preaching, music, leadership, etc., to win the accolade of the Christian crowd. There’s secular fame, and there’s also Christian fame. Serving God becomes ‘self-serving’ and it leads others down a misguided path away from God.
How do you make your decisions when it comes to which church you’d serve in, what role you’d take, or when it’s time to move on to another church?
Which ministries are the most popular? Which ones never get appreciated or recognised?
The young Levite, Micah and the Danites were all about themselves. The Levite followed fame and fortune; Micah wanted a convenient religion that would ensure prosperity; and the Danites took whatever they wanted even if it meant taking it away from someone else.
The attitudes of these three types of people are not a distant memory. “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” Judges shows us a depressing world when God is not the ruler of our lives. God is our King and we should humbly submit to him, serve him and glorify him.
Rachel is a youth pastor at Northern Life Baptist Church. She also teaches SRE at a public school in Sydney’s North Shore. Besides working in ministry, Rachel loves studying at Morling College. She is about to finish her Master of Divinity there.
You can also find Rachel’s previous article here: https://christiantoday.com.au/news/do-we-need-another-parachurch-organisation.html