by Gary Inrig

Day 48

Read Judges 18:1-31

When we read in Judges 18:1 that the tribe of Dan ″had not yet come into an inheritance″, we are not to think that God had failed them, or that Dan had been omitted when Joshua divided up the land. Joshua 19:40-48 makes it clear that their assigned portion was between Ephraim and Judah. But Dan had refused to trust God by driving out the Amorites, and as a result were forced into the hills and reduced to living in two towns (Judges 1:34). The tribe was left with two choices: repent of their unbelief and trust God to keep His Word as they entered into battle against their enemies, or look for a comfortable place where the natives were vulnerable to a sneak attack.

If we want to settle down into life as comfortable Christians, unconcerned about people's need and God's call, we are going to have to serve an idol

Dan chooses the easy place and easy way-Laish, a quiet area far to the north and isolated from allies (Judges 18:7). Why fight Philistines when you can blitz Laish? Their love for ease went hand-in-hand with their turning to idols. The five spies did not go to Shiloh to discover the will of God; they went to Micah's shrine and hired a priest (vv. 5, 17-19). They knew what the living God wanted, but they wanted a self-made god who would fit into their lifestyle without making any demands.

It is so tempting to carve out a Laish for ourselves-a quiet little island where we can live in affluence and forget about the needy world outside, the enemies of the gospel, and Jesus' radical claims on our lives. But if we want to live in Laish, we must become idol-worshippers. No consistent New Testament Christian can live a life of ease. No lover of the cross can retire from God's mission in the world. If we want to settle down into life as comfortable Christians, unconcerned about people's need and God's call, we are going to have to serve an idol.

What is the outcome of Dan's commitment to easy living? At first, it looks like everything works out beautifully. We see them overwhelming the people of Laish, burning and rebuilding the city, then living a life of ease with their own priesthood and idolatrous shrine (vv. 27-31). However, you don't always reap the harvest of your sins immediately. In 1 Chronicles 4-7, Dan is missing from the list of Israel's tribes and families. They had vanished into obscurity, probably because of intermarriage with the Philistines. In Revelation 7:4-8, Dan is again missing from the list of tribes making up the 144,000 Hebrew believers.

Dan did not take what God had given them, and they took what God had not given them. In the process, they lost all that they had.

Think through:

What modern-day equivalent of Laish, or easy life, might you be seeking?

How can we avoid the temptation to choose the way of easy living instead of God's way?




About Author

Dr. Gary Inrig has been serving Trinity Church since 1992. A native of Canada, he has been in pastoral ministry for more than thirty years and has served in Christian Ministry for over forty years. With an extensive conference ministry in the United States and Canada, he has spoken in countries on each of the continents. Gary is the author of ten books, including Pure Desire, The Parables, True North, Whole Marriages in a Broken World, Forgiveness, and Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay. Gary and his wife, Elizabeth, have three married children, Janice, Stephen, and Heather; and eight grandchildren.

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