The Chair and the Desk, 4/4/16

From the chair:

“Then Micah said, ‘Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, because I have a Levite as a priest.'”

-Judges 17:13

This is one of the stranger stories in the Bible. I don’t understand what Micah is thinking, and I don’t think Micah does either. Confusion dominates the episode, with Micah asking the Levite to be “as a Father” but the Levite living with him as “one of his sons.” The Danites come by and think this homemade “carved image” is a good deal, as is the household priest, so they steal both. The priest doesn’t complain: “‘Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and clan in Israel?’ 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” (18:19-20).

This story doesn’t make sense because all of the characters make the wrong call. Micah and his mother don’t know what they’re doing, the Danites just compound the problem, the Levite goes along with a entirely foolish plan. God didn’t command any of this. In fact, God commanded something different, and everyone seems to be trying to make God’s way easier, better or both.

The problem is, God’s not a wizard. If you steal a wizard’s invisibility cloak, you might get to turn invisible. If you use it to steal a jedi’s lightsaber, you now have an invisibility cloak and a stylish deadly weapon. You can take magic things from the magician. But God is God. Levites aren’t magic, the sacrifices aren’t magic; they’re only means of relating with and obeying and honoring and pleasing God who is God. This is why it’s foolish to wear a crystal and a cross necklace, hoping to hedge one’s bets or double up on spiritual bonuses.

There’s just God, saying, “Do you want to know me? Because I want to know you. I’ve come to you in Jesus Christ, come to me in faith. My Spirit will abide in you if you will abide in me.” It’s a wonderful, merciful, all-or-nothing offer, like a marriage–but one in which the God of all that is says, “I will be yours, if you will be mine; if I will be yours, you will be mine.”

From the desk:

Writing season–nothing quotable from the desk today, but it’s getting there.


“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.



Leave a Reply