Judges chapter 17 seems a lot like selective listening to me. Micah knew that God wants our worship, but he decided to take matters into his own hands.
First for some background:
Jdg 17:1 And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.
Jdg 17:2 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.
Jdg 17:3 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.
Essentially, he stole a large amount of silver from his mother. However, perhaps his conscience instructed him to give it back to her, and she was obviously glad to have it back. Then, she said that she dedicated the money to God, and she wanted an idol to be made out of it.
You can imagine that God was probably not too thrilled about this development given that idolatry is generally what got Israel in trouble over the years. If we advance a few verses, the situation is explained perfectly.
Jdg 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
However, Micah was not satisfied with having his idol. He made an elaborate setup, and even went out to hired a priest to work in his house.
Jdg 17:10 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.
Jdg 17:11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man; and the young man was unto him as one of his sons.
Jdg 17:12 And Micah consecrated the Levite; and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah.
Jdg 17:13 Then said Micah, Now know I that the LORD will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.
In my mind, hiring the priest in this situation was little more than window dressing. By reading that last verse, you can see that that the priest was almost like a steppingstone to success. To make God happy, he decided that he needed to have a Levite living within his house.
There is nothing wrong with that, but he was missing the idea that having all of the idols was wrong. You cannot selectively listen to God. I hope that none of us are doing that. Idolatry is a powerful opponent, and we need to resist its temptation.
Deuteronomy 22 tells us that we need to care for our neighbors and act with general courtesy. Sometimes, I feel like we miss out on this today.
Deu 22:1 Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.
Deu 22:2 And if thy brother be not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.
It seems like common courtesy. If your friend loses something, you should bring it back to him. If you don’t know where it belongs, you should keep it in good condition until someone comes looking for it. Then, you should be willing to give it back.
It seems pretty simple, right?
Unfortunately, I think that we sometimes run into a more finders keepers mentality. I know that that’s a very elementary school statement, but when people find something, there are many times when there will not give it back.
In my mind, the best way to handle situations like this roll back to one of the most well-known Biblical passages in the world.
Luk 6:31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
If you lost something, wouldn’t you want someone to bring it back? At the very least, wouldn’t you want someone to take your property in good order? And, if you ever found it at the other person’s house, wouldn’t you want them to give it back to you because it is rightfully yours?
I think that all of these answers are relatively self-evident, and I know that this is a pretty basic post. However, being a good neighbor and friend to all of those around us will help us live the way that God intended us to live with each other.
Jacob decided that he had to get away from Laban because things were becoming a little bit more tense after Jacob essentially took a ton of his property.
Jacob called Rachel and Leah and told them that they were leaving, but on their way out, Rachel decided to steal her father’s idols.
On top of the obvious problem that she was stealing to begin with, her actions had even more serious repercussions.
Laban decided that he wanted to pursue Jacob. After all, his new family virtually disappeared with one of his most precious possessions.
When he finally caught up, he understandably had strong words for Jacob.
Gen 31:26 And Laban said to Jacob, What hast thou done, that thou hast stolen away unawares to me, and carried away my daughters, as captives taken with the sword?
Gen 31:27 Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp?
Gen 31:28 And hast not suffered me to kiss my sons and my daughters? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing.
Gen 31:29 It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.
Gen 31:30 And now, though thou wouldest needs be gone, because thou sore longedst after thy father’s house, yet wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?
Laban wanted to know what Jacob had done with his idols, but Jacob had no idea that Rachel had taken them.
After Laban went through the entire camp and couldn’t find the idols, Jacob was obviously upset. He didn’t understand why he had to be subjected to this search since it was obvious that he hadn’t stolen them.
All of this came out because of deception again.
If Jacob would have been honest about leaving, and if Rachel had never stolen the idols, none of this would have happened.
I kind of feel like a broken record, but in this portion of the Bible, there are a ton of stories that illustrate the damage that deception can do. When people are not honest with one another, feelings are obviously hurt, and people are worse off because of it.
You might think that deception will get you ahead, but when it is eventually exposed, the damage is greater than the original benefit.