Pain is a great motivator. If I put my hand on a hot stove, I’m not going to do that again. If get violently ill due to eating certain foods, I’m not going near those foods again. But, with the absence of pain or discomfort, is there any reason to alter my course, to change any behavior?
Which brings me to the citizens of the town of Laish.
…living carefree lives, like the Sidonians; they were peaceful and secure. The people were also wealthy because their land was very fertile. – Judges 18:7a
Inhabitants of the city of Sidon on the Mediterranean coast, just above Israel. Their extensive sea-trading network made them both powerful and rich. It was the oldest and most important city of the Phonetician trade routes. The city’s glass and purple dye production was lauded by most of the ancient world. Even the poet Homer wrote about their amazing craftsmen. Citizens of Sidon later expanded and founded the equally wealthy city of Tyre.
And now we resume our regularly scheduled program already in progress…
So, these people in Laish are sitting pretty, laying back living the good life. They have everything they want. Unfortunately they don’t have everything they need.
When people are saying, “All is well; everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall upon them as suddenly as a woman’s birth pains begin when her child is about to be born. And there will be no escape. “- 1 Thessalonians 5:3
They were missing something very important.
…they lived a great distance from Sidon and had no allies nearby. – Judges 18:7b
In my life I used to live isolated. I had everything I needed, a wife, house, cars, pets, my television, and a good job. What more did I need?
Allies – noun – a person, group, or nation that is associated with another or others for some common cause or purpose. One in helpful association with another.
Bring on the inciting incident. God was not going to allow me to sit on my haunches and not bless his people through the gifts and abilities that he’d given me. He wanted a man of passion, of purpose. He wanted a man fully alive, not sleeping in a Lazy-boy recliner. Like the men of Laish, I was blissfully ignorant.
My wife left me. My carefully constructed comfortable world disintegrated around me.
…the men of Dan came to the town of Laish, whose people were peaceful and secure. They attacked and killed all the people and burned the town to the ground. There was no one to rescue the residents of the town, for they lived a great distance from Sidon and had no allies nearby. – Judges 18:27-28
I needed allies. I needed men who would walk with me through the issues of life; men who were not afraid to confront my weaknesses and failings. I did not have that. Fortunately my ‘town’ was merely sacked, it was not burned to the ground. The inhabitants lived, but sadly divorced. Yes, a great price was paid for my lack of having allies nearby. I suspect if I’d known then what I know now, life would have been very different.
I now live in a fellowship of men. I give my strength, time and hard earned wisdom to others. I freely give what I have been given. We are allies.
A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. – Ecclesiastes 4:12
I no longer stand alone.
Father, thank you for the men in my life who allow me the joy of calling them friend. May I be a good friend to them. Thank you for second chances. And thank you for the third man, Jesus. It is in his authority I pray, Amen.
Stand, Crawl, Walk, Run! Jan