MAKING A WISE CHOICE (31/03/19, 07/04/19, 14/04/19)
Bible Text: Judg.18:1-20 | INTRODUCTION
Life is all about choice making, and the destiny of every one is a function of the choice(s) made in life. So, it is essential that all pay attention to the message at hand. Every true child of God is a disciple; (student) of Jesus Christ. And as a student, is required to possess listening ears which is the student=s greatest asset. Any student (slothful or industrious) without listening ears is bound to fail and remain uneducated.
The Lord=s will is that His people develop the habit of listening and appropriately responding to His word (cons. Ps.119:18,19, Prov.28:9, Eccl.7:5 ct. 2Tim.4:3-4).
Our text pertains to a Priest that made a wise choice when alternatives were presented, and our lessons shall be drawn from (A) The Period Of The Event (B) The People Inhabiting The Land (C) The Priest And His Choice.
(A) THE PERIOD OF THE EVENT
It was a time when there was no king to ensure the enforcement of the law (Judg.18:1, 17:6)
The fallen nature thrives when not subjugated by measures that instil discipline (cons. Prov.29:15, 22:15,16, 19:18), and in any society (family, business, church etc) where there is no discipline, there will be no direction and so no realization of vision (implied Rom.13:1-7, 1Pt.2:13-14,17).
Absence of discipline: In the family, breeds wasteful, shameful children of belial (1Sam.2:22-25,27-31, 3:11-13, 8:1-5). In the business arena, collapse is the inevitable result. In the church, all forms of atrocities will ensue like wanton pollution of the altar, emanation of strange prophesies and doctrines (mixing the ephod with teraphims and graven images). And before long strange fire would be dogmatized into a custom (cons. Judg.18:17, 20:22-30 cp. 1Cor.5:6b, Gal.5:9).
It was a period that God allowed strange things to happen so as to teach the future generations mysteries of the kingdom (Judg.18:3-6, 14-18, Matt.7:21-28, Rom.15:4, 1Cor.10:4 cp. Deut.13:1-11, Acts 16:16-18).
Today, the Church age is speedily coming to an end, the nation Israel is being prepared for the great tribulation, and the endtime ministry of the Watchman is eagerly awaiting accomplishment (cons. Lk.21:10-12, 29-31, 2Thess.2:7, Isa.49:5,6). Who then can afford to get distracted or cause distractions at such a time? (Cons. Eph.5:15-19, 1Cor.7:20, 29-31).
(B) THE PEOPLE INHABITING THE LAND
The people dwelt alone and carefreely without preparation for any eventuality (Judg.18:7-10). Ultimately, this apparent folly turned too expensive (Judg.18:27-28 cp. Prov.27:12, 22:3).
In our present world filled with wickedness, one of the greatest undoings of a believer is carefreeness of life (cons. 1Jn.5:19, 1Pt.5:8, Eph.6:12, 2Cor.10:3, Jn.10:10, Eccl.4:9-12). The terrible opposition posed by the kingdom of darkness makes it necessary for a believer not to stay solitary but rather remain in contact or fellowship with brethren (Heb.3:13, 10:25), regularly visit the lonely, emotionally wounded and bed-ridden brethren (cons. Jas.1:27, Heb.13.3, Matt.25:32-40).
The consequence of solitary habitation (self-confinement) is a great lesson to those believers (including workers, leaders, pastors etc) who are secretive in the ministrations that they receive and fail to share them with the more matured (Judg.18:27-28, Ps.103:7, Prov.11:14, 12:15, 24:6, Heb.5:14). It must be noted that though Satan has been defeated at the cross, his implements of deceit were not taken away from him (cons. Col.2:15, Jn.19:30 cp. Rom.1:13, 2Cor.11:14, Eph.6:11, 1Thess.2:18, 1Tim.5:13-15).
In ignorance, the self-confined becomes a victim of the Thief (Jn.10:10) who steals his virtues and destroys his vision, leaving him to focus on and grapple with chaff and neglecting the substance, hence the current manifestation of selfishness, self centeredness, pride, arrogance, ungodly boldness, covetousness, avarice, lying, narcissism (excessive self love), adultery, fornication, stubbornness, insubordination, rudeness, wrath, matrimonial violence, jealousy, envy, slandering, nepotism and pursuit of vain glory by some in the Church (cons. Eccl.4:9-12, Jn.13:34, 35, Acts 2:1,42-46, cp. 1Cor.3:3, 4:7, 6:9-10, 13:1-2,4-6, Phil.2:3, 1Thess.5:19-21, 1Tim.5:21, Jas.2:1, 3:1, 4:1-4).
(C) THE PRIEST AND HIS CHOICE
The man, as a levite was born to serve in the house of God, but however was illegitimately consecrated to the supposedly higher office of priesthood (Judg.17:7-13, 18:4-6 cp. Num.18:1-6, 20-23, Ex. 40:12-15). His priesthood was not genuine (cons. Ex.40:12,15, 28:40,43).
Every believer is a priest unto God (1Pt.2:9, Rev.1:6, 5:10). And there are times when he is confronted with challenges that require choosing between alternatives (cons. Jos.24:1,14-16, Ruth 1:15, 1Kgs.18:21, Jn.6:66,67). The believer is expected to choose the appropriate (Jn.6:67-69). Proper choice making is based on understanding of the values at stake viz knowledge of one=s worth, benefits and consequences of the alternatives (cons. Prov.16:22, 4:7, Isa.49:5, 43:1,4, 1Pt.2:9).
The priest in question weighed the alternatives, and chose rather to be a father of a whole tribe than that of a little family in Israel (Judg.17:9-12, 18:15-20). The Watchmen must appreciate the value of being called into the end time project (Isa.49:5,6). The appreciation will reflect in the defence of the calling through exemplary life style (cons. 1Sam.12:1-5, Matt.5:14-16, Jn.8:46, 2Cor.4:1-2, 6:3-4), firm resistance to the blowing winds of doctrine (Eph.4:14) and non-identification with dissenters or unhealthy Christian denominations (cons. Prov.24:21-22, Rom.16:17-18, Jude 5:-11, 16-23; 2Jn.10-11).
Every watchman must realize that:
(i) For any to receive God=s ultimate reward, the individual must serve God as God has stipulated and not as one wants (Deut.11:26-28, Isa.1:19, 55:8-9)
(ii) There is no negotiation on matters bothering on God=s programme drawn to perfect an individual (cons. Heb.5:8)
(iii) Whosoever is labouring is labouring for himself and not for another (Prov.16:26, Gal.6:7).
(iv) Aborting the journey with the Lord is an evidence of weakness and of folly (Prov.24:10, Eccl.7:14, 10:15).
The watchman vision is great, and should be acknowledged and appreciated by all members of the movement. Watchmen should choose to live great lives of cooperation and collaboration (Heb.13:7,16,17, 1Tim.6:18, Gal.6:6). This is wisdom and life!