Scripture Reading for March 14: Judges 17-21
Religion is man’s attempt to do something that makes him feel good about himself and his own relationship with God. The problem is that there is nothing we can do to improve our relationship with God. We are sinners. God is holy and has set up a very narrow way of man coming to Him. In the time of the judges, the nation of Israel had slipped away from the Word of God and each person was doing what was right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6; 21:25) The nation had forgotten God and gotten lost in a self-directed religion of idolatry.
Judges 17 records the story of a man, Micah, from the tribe of Ephraim who had stolen money from his own mother. He heard a curse pronounced by his mother and confessed his crime. The mother forgave him and then took some of the silver he returned and has an idol made for her son! Micah buil a tshrine, made an ephod, and installed one of his sons as a priest. (Judges 17:1-6) This violated everything that God had established for His people in Israel. Only the Levites could be priests and there were to be no idols. God’s people were to go to the place God set to worship, not to any place they chose! (Deuteronomy 12:1-9)
The next turn of events comes as a Levite stops in. Micah hired him to be his “father and priest”. (Judges 17:10) This was more in line with what God desired, but still far from obedience! Everything seemed good until some spies from the tribe of Dan stopped by Micah’s house. They inquired of the Lord through Micah’s Levite. He gave them what they wanted to hear. They soon returned and made this Levite a better deal. Why not be a priest for a whole tribe, rather than a household? The Levite accepted happily because the price was right! Climbing the corporate ladder is not new!
What do we get from this bizarre story that can help us in our walk with Jesus today? First, we must be aware that we can easily slip away from a true relationship with the Lord. Micah and his mother were descendants of Ephraim, on of the sons of Joseph. They had a rich heritage of faith and knew of the miraculous working of God. They should have! Life in the promised land can easily distract us from passing on the faith and teaching about God. Prosperity can blind and distract us!
Second, notice how big a part money played in this story: stolen money, money to buy an idol, money given to appease this rebellious son, money to hire the Levite, and more money to hire him away from Micah’s family! Money seems to be the answer to every problem! Priests here are for sale and God’s blessing can be bought! What a lie from the Devil himself! When you have no King, you end up in contemporary religion! Watch out today!