In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the people of Dan was seeking for itself an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them. Judges 18:1 (ESV)
God is silent and is not truly consulted or considered in either of todays chapters from Judges, this points to the moral degradation of the people who have no central authority in a king which is a picture of the relativistic spiritual darkness the people had fallen into.
JRR Tolkien points to the spiritual darkness that will engulf any people when there is no leadership in his allegorical tale “The Hobbit” where the various kingdoms have no kings which gave a foothold to the enemy.
In the West we are so used to democratic life that we assume it is right when in fact it is not what God intended. Heavens government is not a democracy it is a Kingdom with God as the king. The right type of society before God is a godly kingdom not a “liberal” democracy or tyrannical dictatorship.
Jesus is our king. We have a king and ruler, he has laws which we gladly follow and a kingdom we are gratefully a part of, this keeps us from the darkness of moral relativism. See 1 Timothy 1:17
And they said to him, “Inquire of God, please, that we may know whether the journey on which we are setting out will succeed.” And the priest said to them, “Go in peace. The journey on which you go is under the eye of the LORD.” Judges 18:5–6 (ESV)
Although God’s title is mentioned, God himself is not a part of this, what the tribe of Dan is doing is wicked. God had already spoken, he had already allotted land to Dan but their cowardice and faithless hearts had caused them to lose their inheritance, now they seek to take land that God has not allotted to them.
The priest is in a place of great apostasy and is not actually hearing from God at all, he has sold himself to work as priest over the idols of Micah.
God has revealed his will to us in his word and from that revealed will leads us in its application through the person and ministry of the Holy Spirit. Turn to the word of God to seek Gods will, he has already spoken. For example do not ask Gods will regarding living with a girlfriend/boyfriend or committing adultery, fornication, abortion, lying, forgiving someone or marrying an unbeliever on all these things God has already spoken. See 2 Timothy 3:16
And the priest’s heart was glad. He took the ephod and the household gods and the carved image and went along with the people. Judges 18:20 (ESV)
Moral bankruptcy leads to deception and darkness. The allurement of sin is that one leads to another and false confidence comes through apparent success. This apostate priest is glad to hear he can be a priest to an entire tribe and so joins the tribe of Dan and is complicit in their theft and deception.
This apostate Levite was governed by a love for money and positions before men. See John 12:43
And the people of Dan set up the carved image for themselves, and Jonathan the son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. Judges 18:30 (ESV)
The wandering Levite was “successful” in becoming the priest of the cult the tribe of Dan had stolen from Micah and the tribe of Dan were “successful” in conquering the unsuspecting people of Laish.
Success as the world views it is not a sign of God blessing the things we have done or that we have done things in the right way. True success will be measured on the day of Judgement so we should seek to be successful in God’s eyes according to his word and not in the eyes of man.
We must guard against measuring ourselves as Gods people and as a church community based on human standards of success, instead we should examine ourselves in the light of scripture. See Matthew 7:16-20
In those days, when there was no king in Israel, a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. Judges 19:1 (ESV)
The fact that the levite had a concubine (a woman who he would have sex with and who might bare him children but did not have the status of a wife) is cause for alarm, there is no king and all do what seems right in their own eyes, relativistic philosophy always gives way to absurdity and wickedness.
and they turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah. And he went in and sat down in the open square of the city, for no one took them into his house to spend the night. Judges 19:15 (ESV)
The lack of hospitality in Gibeah points to the moral decay that had taken hold of Israel. We are called to be hospitable, it is our Christian duty and should be done with joy. See Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2 and 1 Peter 4:9
But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and made her go out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. And as the dawn began to break, they let her go. Judges 19:25 (ESV)
These worthless men were homosexual, violent rapists. The host tries to reason with them using his own flawed morals saying it would be wrong to rape the man so rape his own daughter instead and even offers the Levites concubine. But these men are so driven by their lust that they refuse the old mans offer, they want to rape the Levite.
The Levite is himself so morally warped that he sends the poor concubine out to be raped and violently assaulted all night to save his own skin, what a miserable, callous excuse for a man. This concubine is not named in scripture and serves as an “everyman” image for all those who are weak and abused by those in power.
Homosexuality is a sin. Rape is a sin. Abuse is a sin. This was a great and terrible sin, no doubt the concubine cried out in distress and pain but no one in the city came to her aid, thus the entire city is complicit in her rape abuse and murder.
We are called to help the helpless and seek justice. See James 1:27
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
We must learn like Paul to be content in all circumstances, this is the secret to fulfilling Gods calling on our lives. When we say we can do all things, the “all things” are constrained by the context of the previous verse, we are saying outside circumstances will not dictate to us that Gods assignment for us can or can not be fulfilled. Our faith is in God and our reliance is on him, if he has something for us to do he will supply the resources to get the mission accomplished.
We must avoid the worldly mentality that dictates that circumstances must be right before we do what God wants, no, we must trust in God and be content…. not complacent but content trusting God for strength and energy to work.
Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:3 (ESV)
Jesus is our rock, our refuge and saviour Matthew 16:18