May 3 - A Priest for Hire
The story of Micah is the backdrop and the cause for idol worship in the Northern Kingdom through the tribe of Dan. What happened to Micah was just an example of the spiritual conditions of Israel in the time of the judges. There was no king and everyone did what he thought was right. Ever since the passing away of the generation of Joshua, the people of God had degenerated into worshipping Baal and Ashtoreth instead of worshipping the Lord. People like Micah made for themselves household gods and had their own priests. The Levitical priesthood was in limbo and many Levites had to leave the Tabernacle to find a living for themselves.
Jonathan the Levite was a direct descendent of Moses through Gershom. His job was ministering in the Tabernacle but after the downfall of Jehovah worship, he was displaced from Bethlehem in Judah to sojourn where he could find a place. Eventually he went to the hill country of Ephraim and to the house of Micah. He was asked twice about his place of origin and his purpose in life. His answers had nothing to do with his original calling and position in God but only referred to his need to make a living.
When the spiritual condition of God people is in decline, those who have been called by God to serve will not be fully supported. When people are not giving to the Lord, the servants of the Lord will be in poverty and financial difficulty. That is one reason why there are so many “priests for hire” and they sell themselves to the highest bidder. When survival and making a living have become their primary concern, the servants of God will lose their original calling and inheritance from God in search of better pasture or a higher position. When God’s people are not under the rule of God the King, they will do whatever they think is right, just like in the time of the judges.
This young Levite, Jonathan, became opportunistic and went for a better offer. From being the priest of a family, he went on to become the priest of a clan. What a promotion. Though he was called a father and a priest, he was like a son of Micah. As a priest of the Danites, he did not have any spiritual authority but had to listen to the direction of the people. Instead of leading the people, he was being led and controlled. This is the downfall of the priesthood when the servants of God no longer serve God but serve the people. In this deplorable condition, the people continue to serve idols but keep the priesthood for their own peace of mind.
Do you know your spiritual condition affects those who serve the Lord full time? Your support of the church through tithes and offering has a direct effect on the support of God’s servants. Stop criticizing the priests that are for hire but pray for them so that they may be true to God and to their calling.
Ps 65:1-8 Judg 17:1-18:31 John 3:1-21 Prov 14:20-21