This story lays the groundwork for the next one. It also makes me angry for the Lord. God told his people NO IDOLS of any kind. This family refused to listen!
The first thing in our story is a son confessing to his mother that he took her money. Yeah! He finally came clean. Boo! He stole from his mother in the first place. This was not a small sum. We aren’t told the exact value but it was enough to cause great distress to the mother.
I’m curious WHY he took it in the first place. He didn’t spend any of it or if he did he restored ALL of it to her. Did he know it was eventually going to be his? Was he cutting out the wait time? Also, why did he return it? Was it because of the “curse” his mother uttered and spoke in his ear? Did he finally feel guilty?
If this were MY child we would have had a SERIOUS discussion! But mom gives the son back what he had stolen, with a BLESSING! “Blessed be my son by the Lord” (verse 2b). Oh, but wait, there’s more! Now she “dedicates” the money to the Lord an MAKES AN IDOL out of part of it! Way to teach your child a lesson about stealing!!! Way to teach your child a lesson about following GOD’S LAWS!!!
If I sound angry, it is because I AM. It is a parent’s job to teach their children right and wrong. This mother fell down on the job, BIG TIME. She is even the one who commissions the idol that will become a snare for MANY. Was she planning on making an idol with this silver from the beginning? Or did she do it as “an offering of thanks to the Lord”? It she was saying “thanks” I think God would have rather she kept it to herself! This is NO WAY to honor the Lord OR reward a ‘repentant son’!
We lose sight of the mother and follow the idol into Micah’s life. Micah brings the idol into his home and instead of being a nice item to add to the décor he makes it into a full blown temple piece. “The man Micah had a shrine, and he made and ephod and household gods, and ordained one of his sons, who became his priest” (verse 5).
This is the farthest I have seen Israel fall, so far. First of all, God specifically said that His people were not to have graven images. They were NOT to have idols. They were also not allowed to ordain priests. The priests were to be of the line of Levi and they were to serve GOD, not some metal statue!
The next verse sounds like a copout to me. “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (verse 6). Fine. They didn’t have a king but they DID have God’s Law. You can’t say “Nobody told me not to” and think you can get away with it. GOD TOLD THEM NOT TO!
Enter another member into our woefully off track story. The introduction of this man leaves me scratching my head a bit. “Now there was a young man of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there” (verse 7). So is this man of the lineage of Judah or Levi? The ONLY Priest to come out of the line of Judah is Jesus. The Levites were all of the tribe of Levi. They were spread about the nation and lived in the various cities God gave to them. They also probably served in the smaller cities like a traveling preacher. I’m going to take the man at his word and believe he comes from the line of Levi. “I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah” (verse 9b).
Apparently this Levite didn’t like the arrangements he had in Bethlehem. He was looking for a better gig. We aren’t told if he was looking for more power, more money, more prestige, better living conditions, or what. He was just going “where I may find a place” (verse 9c).
Micah was thrilled that this Levite was looking around for something better. He could now BUY himself into legitimacy. “Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year and a suit of clothes and your living” (verse 10).
SOLD!!! The Levite acted so fast he could have ripped Micah’s arm off! “And the Levite went in. And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons” (verses 10b-11). This young Levite was content in his new position.
To keep things all official like Micah “ordained” the Levite too. Ordained him to what? A phony priesthood? Into idolatry worship? Certainly NOT what Micah was thinking it was! “Now I know that the Lord will prosper me, because I have a Levite as a priest” (verse 13).
WRONG!!! GOD ordained His priests. They were to serve HIM, NOT some idol. I don’t care if his idol was a replica of the Tabernacle, it is STILL against God’s Laws! THIS WHOLE GROUP IS DELUSIONAL! I DO NOT believe God would honor ANY of this! I wonder if it would even be recorded if it wasn’t for what comes next, which we will see the next time we are together.
There is only ONE way to God. He lined it out for us from the beginning of time. He started with simple directions in the Garden of Eden. “Eat anything you want, EXCEPT the fruit from this one tree.” When that didn’t keep us in check, He promised to send Someone who would rescue us out of the mess we got ourselves into. In the meantime, He kept the people’s hearts close by personally delivering His standards to a small group of people He personally chose. We are seeing how that worked out. Finally, He sent His own Son, His Heir, to rescue His people. That rescue was open to ANYONE who would accept it. BUT it had to be done HIS way. HIS work, on HIS terms sets us free. NO IDOL has that power. NO FALSE gOD has that right. ONE WAY to the Father and that is through Jesus.
Father God, my stomach churns and my anger boils reading this story! I don’t see how the people got so far away from You. I realize they didn’t have Your written word in every household. And even if they did, not everyone knew how to read and write. They also didn’t have Your Spirit available to them. BUT they DID have Your Laws taught to them generation after generation after generation. I would say Micah’s ‘teacher’ wasn’t one of the best but even this Levite was missing the KEY POINTS in Your commandments. WHAT HAPPENED? Micah wanted Your blessings but he was going about it the WRONG WAY! He wanted to do it his way instead of Yours.
Watch over me Father and JERK ME BACK if I start laying out my own plans instead of following Yours. I DESIRE Your blessings in my life but I want to come by them through Your ways. I want to walk in YOUR truths. I want to worship You as YOU intend. I want to serve You with my WHOLE heart. I want to surrender myself COMPLETELY to YOUR WILL. Lead me where YOU will Holy Spirit! Let NO IDOLS be found in my life!