Judges part 7 Ch. 17-

 

Tonight we will continue in our study in the book of Judges. Now I want to mention that the book of Judges is not in chronological order. Now what happened in Ch 17 and 18 probably happened sometime early on because according to 18:1 the tribe of Dan had not yet secured their inheritance. Also as you look at the last 3 chapter of Judges we know that Phinhaus was still alive when these events took place according to 20:28. One thing is for sure the last 5 chapters of the book of Judges is full of anarchy and truly shows what happens when the human race does things that the see is ok in their owns instead of allowing God to direct their steps. Let us begin in,

 

Judges 17:1 Now there was a man from the mountains of Ephraim, whose name was Micah.2 And he said to his mother, "The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from you, and on which you put a curse, even saying it in my ears -- here is the silver with me; I took it." And his mother said, "May you be blessed by the LORD, my son!"3 So when he had returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, "I had wholly dedicated the silver from my hand to the LORD for my son, to make a carved image and a molded image; now therefore, I will return it to you."4 Thus he returned the silver to his mother. Then his mother took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to the silversmith, and he made it into a carved image and a molded image; and they were in the house of Micah.5 The man Micah had a shrine, and made an ephod and household idols; and he consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

 

The name Micah literally means ďwho is like GodĒ. Obviously this man does not live up his name and should not be confused with the prophet Micah who does live up to his name. First of all we see that Micah is a thief and he was willing to steel from his ownmother. I find the very sad that a child will stealfrom its parent but I know of many people who have done this very thing. I know of one man who had problems with drugs and he wantedthem so bad that he broke into his own mothershome and stole what money he could find and he took their VCR and even food from their freezer and then to top it off he stole their car. But the apostle Paul tells us this.

 

Ephesians 6:2 "Honor your father and mother," which is the first commandment with promise: This same command was taught in the OT as well in Exodus 20:12.

 

To steal from your parents is against Godís law and because it certainly is not honoring mother or your father. This is lesson that needs to be learned today by all children because many kids growing up today donít the respect they should have of the parents. Well in story we see that Micah does admit to his mom that he stole the money but the only reason he did so was because he was scared of the curse that his mom had made. Showing that he was very superstitious. Now you would thinkyou wouldsee the mom get upset but no instead she says he will be blessed by the lord and then she turns around andgives up 200 sheckels of silver so that it can be made into idols. So Micah build a shrine and has the idols and even an ephod which a priestly garment then has the audacity to make one of his sons a priest. You see this is what you call a self-imposed religion. Paul talks about this in,

 

Colossians 2:18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations --21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,"22 which all concern things which perish with the using -- according to the commandments and doctrines of men?23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

 

Self-imposed religion was happing in the OT and it is still happening today. The reason it was happening in the book of Judges is found in verse 6 and is the key verse of the entire book of Judges,

 

Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

 

Basically this is the same reason this happening today. When you donít have people who are willing to stand up and lead people by Gods truth then you are going to have people who will do what is right in their own eyes. There are some people that are looking for the truth and they want to be pleasing to God but it just seems to be out of their reach because they donít have someone pushing themin the right direction. Then we have other people who donít want hear the truth instead they want to hear lies so that they donít have to make any changes in their lifestyles. Isaiah talks about this in,

 

Isaiah 30:8 Now go, write it before them on a tablet, And note it on a scroll, That it may be for time to come, Forever and ever:9 That this is a rebellious people, Lying children, Children who will not hear the law of the LORD;10 Who say to the seers, "Do not see," And to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits.11 Get out of the way, Turn aside from the path, Cause the Holy One of Israel To cease from before us."

 

We also know that Paul warned Timothy that people would be like this,

 

2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

 

We need to learn from Micah and his mother that there are people out there who are just willing to listen to the truth and they would rather follow after their own heart and their own desires. How many times have heard of individual who decided to go to denomination because they like the way it makes them feel. Several years back I ran across a man that shopping for a church and he told me he wantsawild churchone that he can dance in and go crazy. I told the man he was more and welcome to worship with us but that he would not find a wild and crazy church but he would find people that were coming to worship God in spirit and truth and I also toldthat if he us just looking to be entertained that not what our worship is about. But, there are many people just like this man who think that the purpose of worship is to entertain them and is nothing more than social hour. Not many understand the purpose of worship is to worship God almighty.

 

Judges 17:7 Now there was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah; he was a Levite, and was staying there.8 The man departed from the city of Bethlehem in Judah to stay wherever he could find a place. Then he came to the mountains of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.9 And Micah said to him, "Where do you come from?" So he said to him, "I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am on my way to find a place to stay."10 Micah said to him, "Dwell with me, and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten shekels of silver per year, a suit of clothes, and your sustenance." So the Levite went in.11 Then the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man became like one of his sons to him.12 So Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and lived in the house of Micah.13 Then Micah said, "Now I know that the LORD will be good to me, since I have a Levite as priest!"

 

So here we have a Levite who should know Gods law and who should uphold Gods law. But again these verse show us just how corrupt the children of Israel had become. Micah is able to easily convince this Levite to become a father and a priest to him and all it cost Micah was 10 shekels a year, some clothes and the basic necessities of life. I can help but think of what Jesus said in,

 

Matthew 16:26 "For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

 

I believe that is what the Levite was doing because he was agreeing to a priest for someone who worshiping Gods made by his own hands. Micah apparently thought he had made now because he had is own Levite priest and in his mindhe thought the Lord would be good to him. This describes a lot of people in the world today. They think in their mind that just because they do things in the name of God that they are safe even though they are adding and taking many things from the Word of God and following after mans tradition. How sad it is that so many have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. Rom. 10:2-3.

 

Judges 18:1 In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking an inheritance for itself to dwell in; for until that day their inheritance among the tribes of Israel had not fallen to them.2 So the children of Dan sent five men of their family from their territory, men of valor from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and search it. They said to them, "Go, search the land." So they went to the mountains of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there.3 While they were at the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite. They turned aside and said to him, "Who brought you here? What are you doing in this place? What do you have here?"4 He said to them, "Thus and so Micah did for me. He has hired me, and I have become his priest."5 So they said to him, "Please inquire of God, that we may know whether the journey on which we go will be prosperous."6 And the priest said to them, "Go in peace. The presence of the LORD be with you on your way."

 

Here we see the tribe of Dan enter the story and surely you would think that they would be loyal to God. But that wasnít the case instead these 5 men stay with Micah and even find this Levite who was not a priest for this man. You would think they would destroyed this man house and destroyed them for having idols but they did not, instead they ask this priest to inquire of the Lord if their journey will be prosperous. Now I personally I do not believe this priest had any communication with God I think he was just telling these men what they wanted to hear. It doesnít make any sense to me that God would have anything to do with this false priest who was in this house of idols.

 

Judges 18:7 So the five men departed and went to Laish. They saw the people who were there, how they dwelt safely, in the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure. There were no rulers in the land who might put them to shame for anything. They were far from the Sidonians, and they had no ties with anyone.8 Then the spies came back to their brethren at Zorah and Eshtaol, and their brethren said to them, "What is your report?"9 So they said, "Arise, let us go up against them. For we have seen the land, and indeed it is very good. Would you do nothing? Do not hesitate to go, and enter to possess the land.10 "When you go, you will come to a secure people and a large land. For God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth."

 

Laish was a city that was just waiting to be defeated because it didnít have any rulers which means it would greatly disorganized. Besides this they had the false assurance from this supposed priest. Well 600 men make their way to the battle but the stop off at Micahís house.

 

Judges 18:14Then the five men who had gone to spy out the country of Laish answered and said to their brethren, "Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod, household idols, a carved image, and a molded image? Now therefore, consider what you should do."

 

Now youthink ok these 600 men are going to destroy the house of idol worship right? Unfortunately that is not what happens.

 

Judges 18:15 So they turned aside there, and came to the house of the young Levite man -- to the house of Micah -- and greeted him.16 The six hundred men armed with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate.17 Then the five men who had gone to spy out the land went up. Entering there, they took the carved image, the ephod, the household idols, and the molded image. The priest stood at the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men who were armed with weapons of war.18 When these went into Micah's house and took the carved image, the ephod, the household idols, and the molded image, the priest said to them, "What are you doing?"19 And they said to him, "Be quiet, put your hand over your mouth, and come with us; be a father and a priest to us. Is it better for you to be a priest to the household of one man, or that you be a priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?"20 So the priest's heart was glad; and he took the ephod, the household idols, and the carved image, and took his place among the people.

 

Now we have this tribe of Israel being a thief and instead of destroying these idols they decide to make them there own and to make this priest their own. Notice how this priest was to defend these useless idols but because he considered how he could be priest and father to entire tribe this made him happy and so he left Micah behind. Perhaps he thought this move would make him more powerful or give him more money. There are preachersout there in the religious world that are always looking a bigger congregationand bigger pay and will quickly leave a smaller congregation if they get a better offer. For instance I know of on preacher who said he felt like he was called to preach at a church in Ardmore and then he preceded to tell them but he had to have at least 60,000 dollars to preach there. When that church said they couldnít afford that then this preacherapparently lost is supposed calling from God to preach there because he would not come unless the money was right.

 

Judges 18:22 When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah's house gathered together and overtook the children of Dan.23 And they called out to the children of Dan. So they turned around and said to Micah, "What ails you, that you have gathered such a company?"24 So he said, "You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and you have gone away. Now what more do I have? How can you say to me, 'What ails you?' "25 And the children of Dan said to him, "Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest angry men fall upon you, and you lose your life, with the lives of your household!"26 Then the children of Dan went their way. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.

 

Here we see Micah was desperate to get his idols and his priest back and so he gathered up some men and went after these 600 men. Well when they caught them he tried to get them back but the tribe of Dan threatened him and told him he better go his way unless he wants to lose his life. How sad it is to see the children of God willing to destroy a household over dumb useless idols. So Micah had no choice but to go back home empty handed.

 

 

 

Judges 18: 27 So they took the things Micah had made, and the priest who had belonged to him, and went to Laish, to a people quiet and secure; and they struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire.28 There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no ties with anyone. It was in the valley that belongs to Beth Rehob. So they rebuilt the city and dwelt there.29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel. However, the name of the city formerly was Laish.30 Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.31 So they set up for themselves Micah's carved image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

 

So they easily destroy this cityand make their own and then they make their own priest and they setup these useless idols that Micah made turning their back on God. Again these 2 chapters and the last 3 chapters teach us just how far human will fall away from God when they do things there way and what seems right in their own eyes. This is why it very important that we never develop this attitude this is why its very important that we encourage our men in the church of Christ not to neglect the responsibility of leadership or we can end up just like these people we have just read about. So let us always as Christian strive for the faith and allow God to direct our steps.