Judges 17:6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
So let me set the stage for this verse. Micah stole silver from his mother, but then he returned it after she cursed it (Judges 17:2). Did he think the money would be a curse to him? Or, did he feel convicted at what he’d done?
Either way, instead of his mom rebuking him, she decided to bless him for coming clean and returning it. This is very telling of the mother’s permissive parenting style. Perhaps this was also the culturally accepted view at the time; one where kids are coddled and not held accountable for their actions.
Sound familiar? Isn’t that exactly what parents do in today’s American culture? Isn’t that what I’ve done with my own children at times?
How does Micah’s mom decide to bless him, you might ask. She takes all the silver and uses it to make an image of God in honor of her son’s “honesty” (Judges 17:3-4). There is dispute about the actual image; some believe it was an image of another god, like Baal for instance; while others believe it was an actual image of God. Regardless of what the image was, it goes against the second commandment (Ex 20:4).
I happen to believe it was an image of God because the scripture states she consecrated it to the Lord (Judges 17:3). In other words, she truly believed she was honoring God, rather than some other god. Again, this reveals the spiritual condition of Israel. Again, sound familiar?
Micah then took that shrine, made an ephod, intermingled it with other household gods and made one of his ‘adopted’ sons, who happened to be a Levite, the priest (Judges 17:5-12). A little bit of proper worship mingled with a little bit of paganism mixed with a little bit of Micah’s own way of doing things.
It is important to note that throughout this entire chapter, everyone thought they were serving and pleasing God. They truly believed everything they had done would be pleasing to God, and that He would bless them for it (Judges 17:13). They had strayed so far away from His commandments through generations of compromise, that it didn’t even dawn on them that they were doing the exact opposite of what they thought; they were disobeying and therefore dishonoring God.
Since our culture sounds so familiar to this particular era of the Bible, it begs the question: Have we, too, set up false images of God and intermingled them into our worship of Him? Are we disobeying and dishonoring Him in our worship? Has society so infected our worship services that we genuinely believe our compromise is pleasing to Father God despite what the Bible says? Have we conformed to how the world says to worship and lost sight of how God says to worship Him? Is King Jesus truly the ruler of our hearts, as we Christians continue to do as we see fit; often while blatantly ignoring and/or dismissing what the Holy Scriptures say on the matter?
I implore every Christian to ask God to reveal areas in your life where you do as Micah did, as his mother did, as the priest did; areas you think are pleasing Him that may actually be sinful in your worship of Him. Do you put anyone or anything above trusting and worshipping your Creator? Do you put your children above Him? Your spouse? Your political views? Your race? Your gender? Your education? Your knowledge? Your gifts and talents? Your ministry? Your job? Your finances? Your financial status? Your material possessions? Your sin? Etc.?
Worship leaders, do you pray before leading worship? Do you seek the Holy Spirit’s direction or do you spend more time on perfecting the production? Are you, yourselves, entering the throne room or are you putting on a show for the masses as you try in your own power to stir them up? If you enter in the way that He directs you to, the congregation will follow and everyone will be blessed as they enter His presence with you.
Pastors and church leaders, ask God to reveal areas within your church that have taken an imitation form of worship that is conformed more to the ways of the world and the traditions of men. In the name of outreach, have you lost sight of the Great I Am, who is the same yesterday, today and forever? Has your mission become more focused on growing your church rather than on growing the Kingdom of God? Are there any high places, idols, false images, that have been incorporated into the overall church worship?