This post is from the defunct blog “Dying Church”
Judges is a book about the Canaanization of Israel. Instead of living distinctly as people under God's rule, Israel lived by the values of its neighbors.
In Judges 17, someone hires a Levite as his own personal priest, and the priest does it for the money – at least until he gets a better offer. In Judges 18, a whole tribe offers a better job for this priest. "Isn’t it better that you serve a tribe and clan in Israel as priest rather than just one man’s household?” they ask. "The priest was very pleased. He took the ephod, the household gods and the idol and went along with the people."
Daniel Block comments on this incident for pastors today:
The cult is syncretistic, the priesthood is mercenary, and the devotees are evil. Instead of calling people to repentance the professional and spiritual leaders capitalize on the degeneracy of the times. Similarly, the "spiritual service" of many current pastors is motivated not by the call of God but by the opportunities for personal gain. The question the Danites posed to him is asked every day by pastoral search committees: "Which is better, to be the pastor of a small family or to be the pastor of a megachurch?" The contemporary problem of ambition and opportunism in the ministry has at least a three-thousand-year history.