Approval of God Alone (Judges 18:19–20) - Radical

Approval of God Alone (Judges 18:19–20)

“And they said to him, ‘Keep quiet. Put your hand on your mouth and come with us and be to us a father and a priest. 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.”
-Judges 18:19–20

What a humbling verse for all of us. And even as I think about the picture of this priest, particularly for leaders in the church, leaders in any sphere, but particularly among God’s people, what happens when the priests or leaders among them God’s people seek a larger following and the approval of people over faithfulness to God?

God, help us to live for your approval alone.

That’s exactly what’s happening here. This priest is glad that he can have a larger following and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to have that larger following. Including taking this ephod and household gods and carved image, and leading this people into idolatry. Oh, the attraction of the crowds, the desire for the applause of others can lead leaders among God’s people, can lead any one of us in any sphere of leadership and just in our lives, can lead us into all kinds of evil and unfaithfulness to God in order to get the acclaim of others.

So Judges 18, 19 through 20, just leads us all to pray, God, help us to live for your approval alone. God, please help us all. Each one of us, as we pray according to this picture in your word, please help us to be faithful to you. Above all, to keep our eyes fixed on you and not to be wooed by the applause of others, not to desire the approval of others in ways that lead us away from you. God help us to keep our eyes fixed on you and never, never to be enchanted by the things that this world might offer to us at the expense of faith to you.

God, we pray that you would help us day after day after day, moment after moment, in every decision we make to keep our eyes fixed on you, no matter what that means in the eyes of others. God, I pray for my life. I pray for the life of every single person listening right now. Help us to faithfully follow you. And even as we pray this, Jesus, we praise you for your faithfulness to the Father, even when it meant your death, even when it meant death on the cross, we praise you for praying in John chapter 12, “Father glorify your name.” Jesus, we pray that you would help us to follow you no matter what that costs us in this world. In your name, we pray according to Judges, 18, 19, and 20. Amen.

View the 2021 McLean Bible Church Reading Plan.

David Platt serves as pastor at McLean Bible Church in Washington, D.C. He is the founder and chairman of Radical. He is the author of several books, including Radical, Radical Together, Follow Me, Counter Culture, and Something Needs to Change.

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