Tag Archives: Judges 18

Proximity

There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon and they had no dealings with Aram.
Judges 18:28 (NRSV)

Wendy and I have been in a new phase of life the past few years. I’ll call it the proto-empty nest. The girls have been off living in different places, traveling hither and thither, and establishing their own independent lives. There is still, however, the safety net of home within proximity. Help is still, relatively speaking, a phone call away. I may not be close enough to just hop over and help with flat tire in another state or country, but advice, tech support, and 24 hour concierge service is only a phone call away. If things get in a nasty bind, you can always go home to revive, regroup, and relaunch.

In today’s chapter a little community of Sidonians were living in the land of Canaan. The tribe of Dan besieged the city and were victorious. The victory was, in part, due to the fact that the Sidonian villagers were not within proximity of help from their own people. When the “fit hit the shan” (as my dad was fond of saying), they had no safety net or support network to deliver them in their hour of need.

That got me thinking this morning about my own willful choices along life’s journey. It’s one thing to willfully choose to strike out on your own path and go your own way. Rebellion, running away, and going your own way are choices each one of us can make. It’s quite another thing when you so distance yourself from your support network as to put yourself at risk.

 

Chapter-a-Day Judges 18

He who lives by the sword.  The Danites went on their way. Micah saw that he didn't stand a chance against their arms. He turned back and went home. Judges 18:26 (MSG)

I've worked, attended and served in many different churches over the years. In every church I've attended I've found "power players" in the midst of the fellowship. They might be wealthy businessmen, community leaders,families of tremendous local influence, or just strong personalities. I can recount many instances in which I've watched power players assert their influence to get their way without regard to the impact it has on others or the fellowship. I mention the church, but I've seen it in business and government, as well. It's an interesting phenomenon to observe. It reminds me of the old saying "the more things change, the more they stay the same."

In today's chapter, I see the unadulterated influence of power in the lives of individuals and communities. The Danites were a large and intimidating force in that region. They leveraged their power to make Micah "an offer he can't refuse." They used their power to steal and massacre because they could, and it put them and their families in a more secure human position.

We like to think that we live in more civilized times, and it can be argued that we do. Nevertheless, my journey through these ancient historical events continuously remind me of the forces of human nature that don't change. The Danites were power players in their day the same way there are power players in families, churches, corporations, governments and communities today. We may cloak it differently, but it's still there.

Today, I'm thinking about the areas of my life and influence in which I'm a power player. Do I use the power and influence at my disposal to secure my own position at the cost of others, or am I following the example of Jesus who "had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion." (Philippians 2:5-8)

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and claude bezzina