A few weeks ago I sat down for a nice relaxing lunch with a couple of friends of mine. I was hoping for some affirmation, things hadn’t exactly been going my way at work, and I just needed to be wanted for being me. And normally my friends do exactly that, they make me feel welcome, wanted, and appreciated.
However, on this day things were different. They kept their distance, they were standoffish. In fact it seemed as though my very presence offended them. I was starting to get upset. Then one of my friends pointed out that I had crap on my shoe, and that it was stinking up the entire restaurant.
Boy was I embarrassed. No wonder things were not going my way. No wonder I wasn’t feeling welcome anywhere.
Judges chapter seventeen begins the story of Micah. It is a peculiar story of a guy who apparently wants to do the right thing. He wants the Lord’s blessing on him.
A man named Micah lived in the hill country of Ephraim. One day he said to his mother, “I heard you curse the thief who stole eleven hundred pieces of silver from you. Well, here they are. I was the one who took them.” “The LORD bless you for admitting it,” his mother replied. He returned the money to her, and she said, “I now dedicate these silver coins to the LORD.” – Judges 17:1-3a
Good job Micah, you’ve put on your new shiny shoes. You’ve decided to do the right thing.
So his mother took two hundred of the silver coins to a silversmith, who made them into an image and an idol. And these were placed in Micah’s house. Micah set up a shrine, and he made a sacred ephod and some household idols. – Judges 17:4-5a
What is that smell Micah? What the heck did you just step in?
Um, which God are you worshiping? Is it the one who said the following?
Do not make idols of any kind, whether in the shape of birds or animals or fish. You must never worship or bow down to them… – Exodus 20:4-5a
The amazing thing is that Micah has a professional cobbler visit him. And this guy ignores the problem. In fact he gets hired on to regularly add some shoe polish to the top of the shoes!
So Micah ordained the Levite as his personal priest, and he lived in Micah’s house. – Judges 17:12
I guess you can feel pretty good about yourself as long as nobody points out the dung. And the stench gets a bit stronger.
“I know the LORD will bless me now,” Micah said, “because I have a Levite serving as my priest.” – Judges 17:13
Far from it Micah. I suspect that you will be judged even more harshly, because the professional should have done something about the problem.
Father, thank you that I have friends in my life who will point out things that need change. Thank you for men who hold me accountable. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I should probably mention that my restaurant incident never happened. But sadly, Micah’s idolatry did. – Jan