Judges 17:1–6 (ESV) There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 2 And he said to his mother, “The 1,100 pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son by the Lord.” 3 And he restored the 1,100 pieces of silver to his mother. And his mother said, “I dedicate the silver to the Lord from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.” 4 So when he restored the money to his mother, his mother took 200 pieces of silver and gave it to the silversmith, who made it into a carved image and a metal image. And it was in the house of Micah. 5 And the man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and household gods, and ordained 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 book of Judges relates a time in Israel’s history that could well be termed its “Dark Ages.” And chapters 17-20 contain some of the strangest and twisted accounts of aberrant behavior by God’s people to be found in the Bible. It is chilling to see where “God’s People” can go at times. And, there is great insight in these portions into how a society declines.
Chapter 17, focusing on a slice of the life of one man – Micah, shows how this decline starts and progresses.
Note first, he was raised with a light attitude toward sin. It could be dealt with apart from God’s appointed means.
Secondly, he was raised with a twisted value system: His confession of theft is met with no rebuke at all – only “praise” for his honesty at coming clean about it. Sin is traded off against action – totally disregarding that such theft and the cover-up were themselves dishonest.
Thirdly, he was raised with confusion regarding God. His mother dedicates money to “Jehovah” by having an idol fabricated. How self-contradictory can it be?
Fourth, He was rewarded for his “morality” (in confessing his theft) amidst true spiritual bankruptcy that showed itself in the other areas of his life.
Sixth, he was a man of self-made religion. Gets his image, fabricates an ephod, ordains his own son as a priest and creates a shrine.
Seventh, he wants a privatized religion he has ultimate authority over – thus ordaining one of his own sons.
Eighth – He wants to steal as much legitimacy as he can from the real things by “buying” a Levite – while still retaining personal autonomy. (See vss. 7-13)
And then I ask myself, how much is this like so many today? Even among professing Christians?
Oh how greatly we need our Savior Jesus.