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Judges 18:14–21 ‘They answered him, “Be quiet! Don’t say a word. Come with us, and be our father and priest. Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?” The priest was very pleased. He took the ephod, the household gods and the idol and went along with the people.’ (vv19–20) 

In life it’s easy to be deceived; both by others and, sadly, by ourselves. Micah’s Levite priest illustrates this. Having accepted Micah’s request to become his priest, the Levite chooses effectively to run a cultic site (Judg. 17:1–10), disobeying God’s instructions (Num. 35:5–8). It’s worth noting this was at a time when there was no leadership in Israel (Judg. 17:6). We are led through our obedience to the Holy Spirit both in Scripture and the Church’s teachings. When we stray from these, however good and godly, there’s the opportunity that we will serve our own interests, not God’s. Eventually, this Levite takes a decision once again in his best interest, accepting an invitation from the Danites to serve them. As they explain, his choice is simple; serve a mere individual or a whole tribe. 

Self-interest offers apparent advancement, a risk-laden path to tread. Self-interest is our constant companion through life, something we must acknowledge and face, for no-one is incorruptible. However we seek to justify self-interest, it flies in the face of God’s best for us. It’s why Jesus speaks of our need to die to self if we are to follow Him (Luke 9:23–24). This is everyday martyrdom, the word meaning to witness. 

Our witness must always be to bring glory to God, although often to do so requires costly, personal sacrifice. It is only in finding God’s way that we are led into God’s presence. This is the objective of the Christian life.

SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Ps. 43; Jer. 9:1–9; Eph. 5:1–20; Heb. 11:23–40. 

AN ACTION TO TAKE: We are easily taken in, and so we need to remain vigilant to resist the temptation to serve self before God. Where are you most challenged by deception?

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, I choose to direct my steps in following You and ask that You will guide me every step of the way. Amen.’

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.