One of the more bizarre stories in the Old Testament is reminiscent of the paths to apostasy that many take in our own era. We should learn from their folly (Romans 15:4).
When there was a void of spiritual leadership in Israel, Micah of Ephraim consoled his mother because someone had stolen 1,100 shekels of silver from her. In her fury, she had placed a curse on the thief (Judges 17:1-2).
However, her anger abated when Micah told her that he had stolen the money.
She replied, “May you be blessed by the Lord, my son!” (Judges 17:2, NKJV). Joyously, she dedicated the money “to the Lord” so idols could be made (Judges 17:3).
Two hundred shekels of silver were converted into idols, images and an ephod (Judges 17:4-5).
A Levite from Bethlehem came to Micah’s house and he soon agreed to be their priest for a price (Judges 17:7-12). Having idols for worship, an ephod and a Levitical priest, Micah felt empowered (Judges 17:13).
Meanwhile the tribe of Dan sent men to Ephraim and they came to Micah’s house. Finding the priest, they made him a more appealing offer. He stole the idols, images and ephod and went with them (Judges 18:18-21).
The Danites went to Shiloh where they “set up for themselves” idols for worship “all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh” (Judges 18:30-31; cf. Joshua 18:1).
Using similar items to what God authorized, they felt justified. Yet, authority comes solely from God and his Word, not from our preferences (2 Timothy 3:16-17; Galatians 1:8-9; Romans 10:17).
Sincerity will never eclipse God’s will (Acts 26:9-11; 23:1). We can’t do what we want and expect God to follow us into heresy (Isaiah 55:8-9). No one alive is greater than the Lord’s mission.
Churches around the world add the holy to the profane, convinced that God will follow and condone their concoction, as long as they’re sincere. But, God doesn’t follow us.
We’re not the Lord, he is. He will never leave the light, no matter how much we beg (1 John 1:5).