Read Judges 17
III. Apostasy of the Period of the Judges (17:1-21:25). A. Micah and the Migration of the Danites (17:1-18:31). 1. Micah and his private priest (17:1-13).
It seems as if this is a non-chronological appendix that took place in the early period of the judges. A man named Micah stole some silver from his mother. He returned it, when he learned about the curse that his mother pronounced on the one who stole it.
The mother ended up using a portion of the silver to build an idol for her son. Micah went on to install his son and then a wander Levite as his personal priest.
- Stealing and repenting. Notice in vss. 1-2 in this chapter of Judges that the man came clean when he considered the curse attached to his stealing. First, believers should not steal. We should not steal property from people. Nor should we steal time, service, or tithes from the Lord.
Second, if we are guilty, the best thing for us to do is to repent. Only the devil wants you to keep going down the wrong road in the wrong direction. I John 1:8-9 teaches us to confess our sins, receive His forgiveness, and move on with living for the Lord.
Third, notice that people may be more moved by avoiding pain than gaining pleasure. The man repented because he wanted to avoid the pain of the curse more than simply live a moral and respectful life.
We should keep this in mind with our personal development and ministering to others. Let’s work on avoiding stealing and repenting, if we are guilty.
- Idolatry. Notice in vss. 2-5 that the mother was a part of the son’s worshipping of idols. First, an idol is anything that competes with God’s demand for our attention and allegiance. Possessions, status, and even friends can become idols.
Second, as parents and elders, we should help people avoid idols, not worship them. We can help in this area by both what we say and what we do. Our examples often preaches louder than our sermon.
Third, when people see us putting more value on satisfying our own needs than obeying God’s call for us to study, serve, and give, we are setting an example of treating ourselves as idols. When we put more value on buying extra stuff for us than on paying our tithes, we are setting a terrible example. Let’s work on helping people avoid worshipping idols.
- Godly leadership. Notice in vs. 6 of this chapter of Judges that strange things happened when the people did not have clear and godly leadership. In like manner, when the church, family, or community do not have clear and godly leadership, people are subject to do some strange things.
“Strange things” are often ungodly things – sinful. Proverbs 14:12 teaches that there is a way that seems right to a person, but the ends there of are the ways of death. Let’s pray for and follow clear godly leadership.
This application calls for leaders to provide clear and godly leadership. It also calls for followers to pray for and cooperate with their leaders. Whenever you vote “no” or you don’t vote “yes” to the leadership of the leader, you are a part of the trouble.
- Clergy compensation. Notice in vss. 7-13 that the Levite was caught up in the idolatry of the text apparently because he needed/wanted the money.
First, if the people of God had provided the land and tithes prescribed by the law, the Levite would not have needed a job. In like manner, there are many Pastors who have to work secular jobs because churches will not support full time ministry. Any church of 75 tithers should be able to take care of a full-time Pastor.
Second, Pastor’s should be willing to go get a job, instead of being tied up with idolatry. God will not hold us guiltless for our involvement. Let’s support clergy compensation and clergy taking care of their responsibilities through legitimate means.
There is a case for other church staff, but the Pastor’s compensation is a higher priority. The church can get along better without a musician, janitor, or secretary better than it can get along without a Pastor.
- Being right with God. Notice in vs. 13 that the idol owner thought he was right with God because of his idols and priest. In reality, no one is right with God without Christ. You can go to church on a regular basis, be a friend of the Pastor, and even give good money.
If you have not accepted Jesus as your savior by faith, you are lost. Let’s make sure that we have our trust in Jesus, not in human relationships or rituals.
Conclusion: Let’s work on being obedient, instead of
disobedient. God has much for those who obey His will.