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Summary: Should we fail to reach our children, instructing them in the fear of the Lord, they will break our hearts and turn from pursuing God. The message is a plea for Christian parents to reach their children with the love of Christ.

“There was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. And the man departed from the town of Bethlehem in Judah to sojourn where he could find a place. And as he journeyed, he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah. And Micah said to him, ‘Where do you come from?’ And he said to him, ‘I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place.’ And Micah said to him, ‘Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year and a suit of clothes and your living.’ And the Levite went in. And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. And Micah ordained the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. Then Micah said, ‘Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest’” [JUDGES 17:7-13].

“There was no deliverer because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to Beth-rehob. Then they rebuilt the city and lived in it. And they named the city Dan, after the name of Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but the name of the city was Laish at the first. And the people of Dan set up the carved image for themselves, and Jonathan the son of Gershom, son of Moses, and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. So, they set up Micah’s carved image that he made, as long as the house of God was at Shiloh” [JUDGES 18:28-31]. [1]

On one occasion, I preached a message in a former congregation that precipitated an exceptionally strong, negative reaction. I observed from the pulpit that despite an active youth ministry over the precious three decades, few of the youth who had passed through the church continued in the Faith beyond seventeen or eighteen years of age. Many of the youth I had observed were children of deacons and other church leaders. Outrage from Christian leaders within that assembly was immediate and palpable.

These good people, and I’m certain they were good people, though not necessarily godly people, were enraged that anyone, especially their pastor, would question whether their efforts had produced any lasting fruit. These were “good kids,” in their estimate. Maybe these young people weren’t serving God now; but these leaders assured one another that they would claim the divine promise—you know, the one that reads:

“Start a youth out on his way;

even when he grows old he will not depart from it.”

[PROVERBS 22:6 CSB]

This was God’s problem now; they had done their part. The attitude of these leaders was defiant; they were angry that anyone would question the outcome of their holy senescence. Though unspoken, the underlying sentiment held by these church goers was that God had somehow failed them. They had done their part; God wasn’t keeping His part of the bargain.

I confess my deep concern for the youth of the congregation. Young people, our children, need to know that the pastor prays for them. I want our young women and our young men to be men and women of character, living godly, holy lives before the watching world. I know that some of the children of this congregation are yet unsaved. That knowledge plagues me, causes me great sorrow; I pray that this knowledge disturbs you, compelling you to plead for their hearts and lives. How much worse will be the outcome should our children have just enough religion to inoculate them against the Faith. That is the focus of the message this day.

HERITAGE OF HOLINESS — Do you find it strange to see that the priests who served Dan were descendants of Moses? I am especially startled as I read this particular account since the priests serving the Tribe of Dan were not from the lineage of Aaron. Did you notice that the priest is identified as a grandson of Moses? You no doubt noticed that the sons of this priest followed him in this illicit ministry. Jonathan, grandson of the Great Lawgiver, became the priest for Dan. The manner in which this came about is critical to the warning provided in the message today.

The story begins when we remind ourselves of the qualifications for appointment to the priesthood. We will also want to remember the consequences of presumption in approaching the priesthood. Remember that God commanded Moses, “Bring near to you Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the people of Israel, to serve me as priests” [EXODUS 28:1]. Addressing Aaron directly, God commanded, “You and your sons with you shall guard your priesthood for all that concerns the altar and that is within the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood as a gift, and any outsider who comes near shall be put to death” [NUMBERS 18:7]. Take special note of that final sentence.

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