"Snippets" from David
A man named Micah living in Ephraim, Israel,
stole some silver from his mother (Judges 17). Later he confessed to her what he
had done, and returned the silver. She was so elated with his confession and the
return of the silver, she took part of the silver to make an idol for him. Micah
added the idol to his collection of household gods, and he consecrated one of
his sons to serve as his priest in a shrine he established.
Still later a Levite from Bethlehem traveled through Ephraim in the vicinity of Micah. Micah hired him for ten pieces of silver annually, a yearly new set of clothing, and his daily living needs if he served as Micahís priest in Micahís shrine. With the addition of the Levite to his shrine, Micah was certain God would prosper him.
Much later (Judges 18), 600 Danite warriors were on their way to conquer a new territory for their people to settle. As they passed through Ephraim, they took the idols and the ephod by theft, and the willing priest by an arrangement. When Micah and his neighbors overtook the warriors, the superior Danite warriors threatened to kill Micah and his friends if they persisted.
When the Danite warriors destroyed the people of peaceful Laish , the Danites settled there crediting the Levite and the idols for their blessings. The descendants of the Levite served as priests to these people until the Assyrian captivity.
This is one incident at the end of Judges that illustrates how far from God things had fallen. This incident illustrates that the region did not know (1) how to worship God, (2) confused honoring God with honoring idols, and (3) confused a local shrine with the national site of worship. The entire worship concept of Micah and of the Danites were strikingly wrong.
In Exodus 20, God established His covenant (Exodus 19:5, 6) with Israel by giving them His Ten Commandments. These commandments stressed Godís priorities for moral conduct if Israel was to continue in relationship with God. As Israel became a nation, God clearly declared His expectations for Israelís behavior. God began by declaring that never was Israel to acknowledge anything but Him as God. Never were they even to make an idol. By the end of the period of the Judges, common Israelites had no understanding of Godís expectations. They were so ignorant of Godís expectations that they thought they were complying when they were actually violating.
Personal selfishness, personal greed, and the influence of a godless culture easily can distort Godís expectations. It is easy to substitute what we want for Godís desires. It is easy to say we are worshipping God when all we are doing is honoring our wishes. It is easy to substitute the rewards of wickedness for the blessings of God.
Be certain never to falsely expect certain things. (1) Never expect God to keep you from doing evil if (a) you are willfully ignorant of what evil is and (b) you are unconcerned about knowing and following Godís concepts and ways. (2) Never think God will stop your slide into wickedness. (3) Never believe that God will refuse to allow the consequences of your evil to influence future generations.
One way to highlight your own ignorance: underestimate your capacity to be a wicked person. Place your trust in Godís goodness, and not your own.
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