Throughout the book of Judges, we see the phrase repeated again and again, “in those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” The word “right” always sounds good, but what was really happening was a postmodern revolution… in the ancient world. Moral and religious relativism pervaded the land.
One such example is the mother of Micah who, in chapter 17, dedicated 11,000 shekels of silver to the Lord (sounds good, might have the approval of many modern Christians) to have a graven image made. She designated an offering for idol-building to the God who said, “Don’t make idols!” Her spiritual confusion transferred to her son who kept the idol and began to mentor a young Levite priest. After several years of training, the tribe of Dan persuaded the young priest to come and be their priest. The spiritual schizophrenia of one mother influenced a son, who influenced a village of people and a young apprentice, who influenced an entire tribe toward idolatrous worship of the one true God.
There are several clear messages from this story. First, not all that seems like genuine worship really is. Micah and the young priest served out of sincerity. They believed in God, they prayed, and they saw themselves as qualified spiritual leaders. The mother thought she was doing a good thing in paying to have an image formed. The Danites thought they were doing a good thing in setting up a new shrine when the real place of worship was Shiloh. All good intentions, but idolatry nonetheless.
Another lesson concerns the lack of spiritual leadership. The mother failed to lead her son to pure worship. Imagine the impact of a different decision. Imagine if Micah had been trained in the truth of the Scriptures (instead of the relativistic truth of the day) to worship God without any graven images. He might have mentored the young priest to know God’s Word as well, who might have influenced Dan to worship in spirit and in truth also.
Yet another lesson, hinted at already, is that the truth of God’s Word must frame our worldview and our worship. We can have church with a positive message, great music, large offerings, and humanitarian acts toward the world. But if the truth of God’s Word is not the foundation of our worship and service to God, we are sure to miss the point of what real worship is all about.
Pray today for God’s truth to be the basis of modern Christianity instead of an emotionalistic and sometimes shallow, whatever-feels-like-great-worship-must-be-right mentality. Pray for God to raise up godly, spiritual leaders. And pray for the generations to come to worship the true God according to God’s truth.