Judges 17 (New International Version)
1 Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim 2 said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels (that is, about 28 pounds) of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it.”
(A thieving son! A cursing mother! Did he return the money only to escape her curses?)
Then his mother said, “The LORD bless you, my son!”
(When we consider that an annual wage was 10 shekels — see verse 10 below — this amount is a fortune! No wonder she was glad to get it back!)
3 When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the LORD for my son to make a carved image and a cast idol. I will give it back to you.”
(Her money was her god before she had it made into an idol.)
4 So he returned the silver to his mother, and she took two hundred shekels (that is, about 5 pounds) of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who made them into the image and the idol. And they were put in Micah’s house.
5 Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some idols and installed one of his sons as his priest.
(The Israelites were to worship at the Tabernacle, which was at Shiloh, also in the hills of Ephraim where Micah lived — they were never instructed to build private shrines. And the priests were to be from the tribe of Levi. Micah and his mom are doing as they “saw fit,” without regard to the Lord’s commands.)
6 In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
Psalm 47:6-7 (ESV)
Sing praises to God, sing praises!
Sing praises to our King, sing praises!
For God is the King of all the earth;
sing praises with a psalm!
7 A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah, 8 left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.
9 Micah asked him, “Where are you from?”
“I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,” he said, “and I’m looking for a place to stay.”
10 Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels (that is, about 4 ounces) of silver a year, your clothes and your food.” 11 So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man was to him like one of his sons.
(For nothing more than some food and clothes and a salary, the Levite discarded his high calling as a priest of the Creator of heaven and earth, to become a keeper of an man-made idol. And in the next chapter we will see again how lightly he holds his loyalty.)
12 Then Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in his house. 13 And Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.”
(Micah believed God was pleased, even when what he did was in direct disobedience to everything God has said! How powerful our self-delusions can be — for Micah and for his priest and for us!)
Psalm 11:3 (NASB)
“If the foundations are destroyed,
What can the righteous do?”
Going down . . .
Beginning with this chapter, we enter the final section of the book of Judges, and more and more clearly we are shown the worsening situation of the nation of Israel. It is a picture of anarchy and confusion, of idolatry and lawlessness, the results of a godless liberty. Because of their unfaithfulness to God by worshiping idols and their disobedience to God by not completing the conquest of the land, the people will find themselves living in moral chaos. The writer sums it up several times in these chapters by saying, “Everyone did as he saw fit” — a classic statement of making self the final authority.
Oh, Lord God, help me today to love You with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, with all my strength.
Micah didn’t do it but we can! HERE is Lincoln Brewster and “Love the Lord Your God.”