MICAH, THE SELF WILLED

Judges 17:1–6 (KJV)

And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.

And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son.

And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.

Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah.

And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.

In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Whenever we think about the book of judges our minds almost immediately go to passages like

Judges 17:6 (KJV)

In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

And for the most case, we think of the troubles that spirit caused for the nation of Israel as a whole:

· Sin

· Idolatry and

· Judgement

Most of the time, we about the nation as a whole.

But the book of Judges does, here and there, give us details about some of the individual sins:

· Local,

· Isolated,

· Personal

acts of sin.

One of those places is this one.

In a piece I wrote in my daily visit with God back in October of 2013, I quoted from a commentary that said, [Here is, as one commentary[1] puts it, “a curious medley of low morality and deep religious feelings”.]

There is a medley in this passage, not only of “low morality and religious feelings”

But of people groups

There is first a mother.

We know little about her, other than she had some degree of religious desire.

Her son will be the primary object for tonight’s message

There is a young Levite man

He is a curious study. We find out at the end of chapter eighteen that his name is Jonathan, he is the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh. Several scholars believe he may have been the grandson of Moses.[2]

There is a family of Danites

This particular family had procrastinated securing land for themselves and they’re out hunting for easy prey.

There are the inhabitants of the city of Laish[3]

This is the “easy prey” the family of Danites was looking for. They were undisciplined, not alert, and disorganized.

They became the “target of opportunity” that we often hear about in the news. Most random acts of crime happen to happen to people who present themselves as easy mark. They look vulnerable. They aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. They are in unsecure places at bad times.

And then there is Micah

He’ll be the subject of the message tonight.

Micah, that’s a good name, isn’t it?

It means, “Who is like God.”

This is not a question mark, by the way.

Mom and Dad must have had some very high expectations for this one.

Micah, one of the books of the Bible is written by a prophet named Micah, isn’t it?[4]

That Micah lived hundreds of years later, but he wrote one of our favorites verses, Micah 5:2 (KJV)

But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

The Micah of Judges 17 and 18, demonstrates not just an act of indiscretion and sin, but one of bad character.

Micah is self-willed.

I do not mean to say that he is atheistic, barbarian, or pagan.

He is a very religious man.

He is given to moments of:

· Humility and

· Contrition and

· Honesty

But make no mistake about it. Micah is self-willed.

· While he may be drawn to the things of God

· While he may be in the habit of regular worship

· While he might even be faithful to personal devotions

This Micah obeys his own will and not that of the Living God.

Notice with me that he devised,

I. HIS OWN PLACE OF WORSHIP

Judges 17:1–6 (KJV)

And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.

And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the LORD, my son.

And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.

Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah.

And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.

In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

I notice that his mother is involved with this whole scheme of

· Graven images and

· A house of gods

The Bible doesn’t tell us what happened to his father.

Possibly he had died by this time.

I just want to re-emphasize the importance of parenting.

Mom seems to be self-willed herself.

And what the parent does in moderation, the children often do in excess.

Our kids pick up on our sins!

I think it is significant that this section ends with, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

Look what Micah does:

A. He created graven images

Idols

B. He built a house of gods

A false place of worship

C. He consecrated one of his sons to be a priest

He has:

· His own gods

· His own house of gods and

· His own man of god

Every bit of this is in opposition to God’s will.

Whenever we do what we want, instead of what God wants, we are self-willed.

Notice secondly, he hires,

II. HIS OWN PRIEST FOR WORSHIP

Judges 17:7–13 (KJV)

And there was a young man out of Bethlehemjudah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there.

And the man departed out of the city from Bethlehemjudah to sojourn where he could find a place: and he came to mount Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he journeyed.

And Micah said unto him, Whence comest thou? And he said unto him, I am a Levite of Bethlehemjudah, and I go to sojourn where I may find a place.

And Micah said unto him, Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year, and a suit of apparel, and thy victuals. So the Levite went in.

And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.

And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.

Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.

I’ve already told you that Micah was given to moments of

· Conviction

· Contrition and

· Humility

He is self willed. He does what he wants.

· But that does not mean that he doesn’t know what is right.

· Nor does that mean he doesn’t have a guilty conscience for his willfulness.

I know tons of people who are thoroughly miserable because

· They know what is right

· They choose to disobey what is right and

· They can’t get over the guilt of it

Consider for a minute the drug addict or the alcoholic.

· They know it is wrong

· They realize that it is ruining them yet

· There is nothing anyone can do to help them until they choose

Now apply that to any sort of willful disobedience.

Whether it be:

· Gossip
Bitterness

· Anger

· Prayerlessness

Or you name it.

Nothing changes until the sinner chooses to change it through obedience.

It’s why most counseling does not help.

Help doesn’t come from the skill of the counselor — it comes from the heart of the counselee.

Until you are willing, not only to admit your sin, but to turn in obedience to God, to one of two courses:

· A life of guilt and misery

· A hardened heart that can no longer sense the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

So, Micah stole a bunch of money from his mother, got under conviction about it and confessed it.

But neither he nor his mother got right with God.

In self will they made their own place of worship.

And then Micah got under conviction again, that his worship wasn’t right with God.

But still he did not obey they Lord

In self-will he replaced his son for a Levite as his priest.

Tweaking your disobedience, to more closely resemble obedience, will not make you obedient to God.

So then notice Micah developed,

III. HIS OWN PATTERN FOR WORSHIP

Judges 18:11–20 (KJV)

And there went from thence of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men appointed with weapons of war.

And they went up, and pitched in Kirjathjearim, in Judah: wherefore they called that place Mahanehdan unto this day: behold, it is behind Kirjathjearim.

And they passed thence unto mount Ephraim, and came unto the house of Micah.

Then answered the five men that went to spy out the country of Laish, and said unto their brethren, Do ye know that there is in these houses an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a molten image? now therefore consider what ye have to do.

And they turned thitherward, and came to the house of the young man the Levite, even unto the house of Micah, and saluted him.

And the six hundred men appointed with their weapons of war, which were of the children of Dan, stood by the entering of the gate.

And the five men that went to spy out the land went up, and came in thither, and took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image: and the priest stood in the entering of the gate with the six hundred men that were appointed with weapons of war.

And these went into Micah’s house, and fetched the carved image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. Then said the priest unto them, What do ye?

And they said unto him, Hold thy peace, lay thine hand upon thy mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest: is it better for thee to be a priest unto the house of one man, or that thou be a priest unto a tribe and a family in Israel?

And the priest’s heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went in the midst of the people.

There is so much here that I am not going to begin to explain this passage.

I do want to point out that Micah had:

One idol that was carved –

probably out of wood, could also be of stone.

One idol that was molded –

In this case, out of silver

An ephod

This was a priestly garment. It was a special sort of outfit designed to represent being redeemed or free.

When a person is set free, he puts on his coat before he steps out of his prison.

A teraphim

The word has to do with healing. The teraphim was a unique sort of idol that was carved to look like a mortar and pestle used to grind together healing herbs and medicines.

A priest

The ancient Hebrew concept of a priest comes from the idea of a hand holding a sprouting seed.

The priest is the one who oversees or officiates religious activity to ensure it is successful.

I think he’s trying to cover his bases a little bit, what do you think?

I’m reminded of Acts 17:22–23 (KJV)

Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

The Athenians had made just about every sort of god imaginable but, just in case they had missed one, they had even made an altar “to the unknown God.”

They just wanted to make sure their bases were covered.

But it didn’t work did it?

Paul left Athens discouraged because the majority of them rejected the Gospel.

I want to end by telling you this:

If you are self-willed, disobedient to God, set on doing what you want, going where you want and being who you want, no amount of religious activity is going to help you.

· You can go to church

· You can sing in the choir and teach a Sunday school class

· You can surrender to be a preacher and

· You can go to the mission field

· You can pray all sorts of prayers

· You can read your King James Bible

· You can go out soul winning

You can do it all.

But there is only one way to be right with God and that is to surrender to His will and obey Him.

[1] Jamieson, Fausset, Brown

[2] John Gill on Judges 18:30

[3] The city will have its name changed to Dan before this chapter is finished

[4] Micah 1:1 (KJV)

The word of the LORD that came to Micah the Morasthite in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

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