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 an image overlaid with silver. I will give it back to you.”Judges 17:3-6 NIV
So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol. And it was put in Micah’s house.
Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest. In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.
This story of Micah, not the prophet, in Judges 17 and 18 is a strange one. Micah stole some money from his mom and then repented and returned it to her. In return, his mom consecrated the silver to the Lord to make an idol. This idol was joined by a number of other ‘worship items’ and a Levite was hired to be Micah’s priest. Then Micah’s shrine and priest were stolen by the tribe of Dan. And they became an object of worship for that whole tribe.
Interwoven throughout this story you find references to a merging of the worship of God with pagan worship elements. And it is just reported as a historical event with no indication that this was a problem. The only indication that something was not right was the phrase, “In those days there was no king, and everyone did what they thought right.” So it would appear that Micah and the others in this story did not see anything wrong in what they were doing.
How guilty are we of doing what Micah did? Mixing the worship of the true God with idolatry. And never even realizing what we are doing. Most of us would probably vehemently deny that we are guilty of such a thing. But idols take many different forms. And they are generally not thought of as representing gods any more.
An idol is really anything that takes God’s place in your affections. How do you determine if Sunday’s worship was good? Was it because the worship team was on top of their game? Because the preacher was eloquent and inspiring? Did you come away feeling like you had been blessed? Or was it because you had come into God’s presence and glorified him as God?
A high powered preacher. Dynamic and entertaining worship teams. An imposing facility. A laundry list of programs and ministries. A generous and fully supported budget. None of these are bad in and of themselves. But they can all become idols if they distract us from a pure and heartfelt worship of God and commitment to him.
Let’s not be like Micah, mixing idolatry with our worship of God. Instead, let’s keep the focus of our worship on him, and him alone.