Do you live for God’s Holiness or Your Own Happiness?

Do you live for God’s Holiness or Your Own Happiness?

Below is a transcription from the Fortress of Faith Podcast episode:

 

Do you live for God’s Holiness or rather, so you live for happiness? Which is it, do we live for the holiness of God or our we really living for own happiness? There is a story that unfolds in the book of Judges chapter 17 and 18, 2 characters we’re going to look at here today. One, his name is Micah. Now this isn’t the prophet Micah that we’re familiar with in the Old Testament. But here’s a man who as best as I can tell, he’s not a Jew, but he’s living in Israel with the tribe of Ephraim.

And as the story begins, he saves his family’s wealth for some reason. It was missing 1100 shekels of silver, but Micah saves the day. He’s, he’s got it and he reveals that to his mother. It’s not lost but I have it. And his mother is grateful, and she gives him 200 shekels. And this is used to build a, a house of gods. He’s not a believer in Jehovah God.

And we begin our story reading in verse number five of Judges chapter 17. And the man Micah had a house of gods and made an EOD and a Tim, an ead is kind of like the vester that a priest would wear. And a Tim is a, you know, a, a, an image of a talisman of sorts and consecrated one of his sons who became his priest. He’s a religious man and he builds this house of gods and he’s got an eo you know, vestiges for a priest to wear and a talisman of good luck charm.

And, and, and he consecrates one of his sons to be a priest in this little temple he’s built. And in those days, there were, there was no king in Israel, but every man did that, which was right in his own eyes. This is a comment that goes on often in the book of judges, then enters our second character in our story. He’s a Levite, a Jew born for the ministry to be in the house of God to serve in worshiping God. And he’s a young man who’s looking to improve himself apparently. And he’s looking

for a place to serve. And we pick up in verse number nine in Micah said unto him, whence comes thou and he said unto him, I am a Levite from Bethlehem, Judah. And I go to sojourn where I may find a place. Michael said unto him dwell with me and be unto me, a father and a priest and I will give thee 10 shekels of silver per year and a suit of apparel and thy Victuals. In other words, I’ll pay all your expenses you know, give you 10 shekel a year in addition to that and you know, and a new suit. And the Levite went in.

So apparently both of these men are serving their own happiness. Here. We’ve got, and, and look what Micah says in verse 13 then said Micah, now know I, that the Lord will do me good seeing. I have a Levite to my priest. So here’s a man, you know, he’s wealthy and he’s able to have all his other gods to worship and just for good measure. Now he’s got a Jewish Levite to be his own personal priest to serve his family. Wow, man, he’s got a lot of happiness right here. So, Mike has got everything he wants. What about the Levite? Well, he’s got a cushy position, doesn’t he?

I mean, apparently, he really doesn’t care much about the laws of Jehovah and his ways. You know, he’s willing to, you know, go wherever, serve wherever. And you know, he’s got himself a pretty good position. He’s working for a wealthy man. Apparently, this man is not terribly demanding, you know, anything goes with him. All his expenses are paid, and he’s got shekels in his pocket and a new suit.

So certainly, he’s serving his own happiness. But the narrative turns, struggles come as they always do. And some people from the tribe of Dan are trying to find their own happiness, trying to find a better place and find some people that they might be able to take from them so that they might have their own happiness. And five spies are sent to Ephraim, and they come to Micah’s house, and they find this Levite and they find the situation there and they kind of mark it and they keep looking around for really what they’re looking for and they find it in a small little city up in LA. There’s no walls and it’s a peaceful people and there’s no sheriff in town, so to speak. And so next thing we know 600 people, men of war are there at the gates of Micah’s house and they take his wealth, not only do they take his wealth, they take his, his priest and the eo and the Tim and the graven image and, and they haul off with it and they say to the priest there go with us be to us a father and a priest. It is better.

Is it better to be a priest unto the house of one man or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family of Israel, you know, working with your own people. Of course, this is better. In verse 20 we see his response and the priest’s heart was glad he took the ead the tim, the graven image and he went in the midst of the people. Well, Micah shows up there and says, hey, you’ve stolen my priest you’ve stolen my stuff there. But he realizes he doesn’t have the power to take it back from these people. And so he cuts his losses and returns home. His happiness didn’t last too long. And that’s usually the case, isn’t it? But in the next chapter, we kind of see what happens to this Levite. He takes a concubine after all. He’s not really living to the glory of God for the God’s holiness.

He’s living for his own happiness. But she placed the par, the Harlot on him and the Levi he in his concubine, they’re traveling and it’s late at night and they’re trying to find a place of refuge there and they come to the town of Gi and they find some Jews there and one old man has compassion on them and they take them in. Well, this city is very much like the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, a wicked man. And they knock on the door, and they say, hey, we know you’ve got company there, let, let them come out and let us know them meaning sexually. Well, the Hebrew man wouldn’t let him do that. So, the Levite says, here have my concubine and do as you wish with her. And she is savagely raped. In fact, the Bible says they abused her all the night. The next morning, they find her pretty much dead on the doorsteps. So, this happiness didn’t last too long for either.

Of them. But here’s a man who was not led by his convictions. He did not live for the glory of God, for the holiness of God rather he lived for himself. The Bible says in first Corinthians chapter 10, verse 31 gives us the idea of what is the end of man, what, what should be the real, what’s totally important for us. And it says here, whether therefore you eat or drink or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.

This is why in the Westminster confession given in 1640 seven, when they ask the question, what is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever. However, we live in a day where Christianity has slipped, we’re no longer really living the normal Christian standard that God designed for us. Although it’s just normal for us, it’s the, it’s a subnormal, but that’s been our normal for so long. And we don’t know much different humanism has crept into Christianity to such an extent that we think that Christianity is to bring man happiness.

No, no, we’re not here for our happiness. We’re here for God’s glory.

This is the problem we’ve got going on today because we’ve packaged Christianity so much and it’s so ingrained in our thinking that well, you, you, you want to get saved because you want to go to heaven, right?

In other words, we’re going to make you happy when you die because you know, you, you, you want Jesus, you want God to make you happy when you die because you certainly don’t want to go to hell. You want to go to heaven and heaven will bring you happiness. And so, we sell God as a means to an end. And folks, God is not the means to an end. He is the end of all things.

He is what we are to live our life for. And that’s God Paris Reidhead a missionary to Africa said it so well, when he dealt with this subject, how he came to understand how humanism had crept into his, his own idea of what Christianity is. And let me read this to you. He says, I went to Africa primarily to improve on the justice of God. I didn’t think it was right for anybody to go to go to hell without a chance to be saved.

I went to give poor sinners the chance to go to heaven. I was simply using the provisions of Jesus Christ as a means to improve upon the human conditions of the suffering and mi and misery. And when he got there, he found out this, he says when I got there, that they weren’t poor, ignorant, little heathen running around the woods, waiting and looking for someone to tell them how to go to heaven.

They had far more knowledge of God than he had ever dreamed they had. They knew about God and about heaven and didn’t want to go there. They were monsters of iniquity that were living in utter and total defiance of God. He said they deserved hell because they utterly refused to walk in the light of their conscience and in the light of the law written upon their heart and the testimony of the nature of the truth that they knew.

And when he learned this, that these people, you know, weren’t just little heathens and just, you know, they wanted to heaven. But they, he found out no, they knew about heaven. They knew about God. They just didn’t want God, they wanted their sin and he wanted to quit. He wanted to come home and he goes on to say it was there in Africa that God began to tear through the overlay of this humanism.

And it was that day in my bedroom with the door locked that I wrestled with God. It seemed to me that I heard him say, yes, will not the judge of all the earth do, right? The heathen are lost and they are going to hell not because they haven’t heard the gospel, they’re going, they’re going to hell because they are sinners who, who love their sin and because they deserve and because who love their sin and because they deserve hell.

But I didn’t send you out there for them. I didn’t send you out send you there for their sakes. I didn’t send you to Africa for the sake of the heathen. I sent you to Africa for my sake. They deserved hell. But I love them and I endured the agonies of hell for them. I didn’t send you out there for them. I sent you out there for me. Do I not deserve the reward for my suffering?

And that’s when he said that’s when he got it. I’m not doing this so that they can get saved so I can improve their life and make Jesus, make God a genie for them. God made provision for their salvation. And I’m not doing it for them. I’m doing it for God. If you get a hold of this, it will change your life and it will put you on the road to personal revival.

All that we do. We do for the glory and the holiness of God and not for the happiness of man to improve someone’s position. And when we realize that that’s one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian life.

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