Read 83.) Judges 17:1 thru 18:31. No, they were not some pop one-hit wonders. These were Bible characters during the time of the Judges in Israel, prior to 1100 BC. This story relates some pretty pathetic stuff, as we shall note. We begin with a thief named Micah, who stole some $7,600 worth of silver, by today’s prices, from his own mother! Nice guy. Then, the return of the stolen silver results in it being consecrated to the making of an idol image of ‘The Lord’! But, though she said she’d give it all back to him for this image to be made, she didn’t give even 20% to him, but kept more than 80% back for herself. So, before this story even gets underway, we have Israelites breaking at least the 10th, 8th, 5th, 1st and 2nd Commandments! That’s 5 of the 10!!! We’re off to a great start. And, if mom uttered a curse, as verse 2 states, did she violate the 3rd Commandment, as well? From here, it only goes downhill! According to the Law, these two were to be executed!!!
The reason for all of this is plainly stated in 17:6, “Everyone did as he saw fit.” We have this same sentiment today. “I’m sincere. I do what I think is good and right.” They believe God will take that into account, and all will go well with them in the Judgment. They are tragically mistaken. In the Proverbs, it says, “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but in the end, it leads to death.” The proper title for such thinking is called HUMANISM. Humanism is the philosophy that man is the highest real being, therefore, he is god, and whatever he deems to be best for himself, is, as there’s really no one higher than he to whom he must give an account. The rest of the chapter expresses this concept explicitly. Micah thought the Lord would have to do him good, because of his ‘religious devotion’.
The rest of the account simply relates this one point of just how utterly unfaithful Israel had become unto the Lord, their God. This is that time of their prophesied unfaithfulness! With chapter 18, we have an Israelite ‘hiring’ a priest. This priest is asked to inquire of the Lord, but simply pronounces His ‘blessing’ upon their endeavor. See their intrigue, and their murderous plot. Note their own religious folly in stealing another’s idols. And, then, see how ‘opportunistic‘ this ‘priest’ is? He gets ‘promoted’ from ‘ministering’ unto one household to an entire tribe! The entire chapter ends most tragically. Dan takes a city, killing all its inhabitants, they install certain individuals to be their own priests, who were not of the proper line, and they worshiped the idols they installed as their god. From beginning to end, we saw no truly righteous individual, but plenty of ‘religious’ people! The Lord finds mention, but He is not actually being referred to. Only idols and false gods are being called the Lord. The situation is most sad and dire, yet God is not going to execute His judgment upon them for at least another 500 years, so gracious and merciful is He to call to them, and to give them every opportunity to turn back unto Him in brokenness, humility and true repentance. It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell