Designing a religion you can control!
Scripture Reading for March 14th: Judges 17-21
Religion is man’s attempt to do something that makes him feel good about himself and his own relationship with God. But there is nothing we can do to improve our relationship with God! God is holy and has set up a very narrow way for man to approach 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 self-directed religion.
Judges 17 records the story of 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 had an idol made for her son! Micah built a shrine, 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. (Deuteronomy 12:1-9)
One day, a Levite stopped by Micah’s house and he hired him to be his “father and priest”. (Judges 17:10) Later some spies from the tribe of Dan stopped by Micah’s house and they inquired of the Lord through Micah’s Levite. He told them what they wanted to hear. They 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’!
It is easy to slip away from a true relationship with the Lord. Micah and his mother were descendants of Ephraim, one of the sons of Joseph and they had a rich heritage of faith. But materialism and money took them away from faith. There was stolen money, money to buy an idol, money given to appease the rebellious son, money to hire the Levite, and more money to hire him away from Micah’s family! When you have no King, you can end up in contemporary religion doing what’s right in your own eyes! Watch out today!