Every Man Did What Was Right In His Own Eyes

The historical account in Judges after the death of Samson reminds me of Proverbs 29:18,

18Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is he who keeps the law.

The account of Micah in Judges 17 is intriguing to study and reflect on. There was no clear leader or organization in Israel at the time. Every man did what was right in his own eyes. Micah appears on the surface to want to follow the LORD, but then is so lost he is building idols to do it. He seeks out a Levite as priest and he too seems ok with the idols. Idolatry is fairly basic and clear to avoid. Could it be these people really did not know to avoid idols? I suspect they had mixed and mingled with other cultures around them so thoroughly that they came to rationalize that it was right despite clear guidance from YHWH against it. The seem to be unable to see even obvious things that are displeasing to YHWH.

Let us take note that we should likewise be careful to test what is accepted in our culture against what YHWH actually says in his word. We should not simply take the word of a priest or denomination, but really test what the word says in the Bible itself, lest we, like Micah, convince ourselves that God is pleased with us because we have a priest or spiritual leader and yet we are still mixed up in worshiping him the wrong way and doing what is wrong in his sight instead of what is pleasing.

Judges 17

Micah’s Idolatry

      1Now there was a man of the hill country of Ephraim whose name was Micah. 2He said to his mother, “The eleven hundred pieces of silver which were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse in my hearing, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son by the LORD.” 3He then returned the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, “I wholly dedicate the silver from my hand to the LORD for my son to make a graven image and a molten image; now therefore, I will return them to you.” 4So when he returned the silver to his mother, his mother took two hundred pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith who made them into a graven image and a molten image, and they were in the house of Micah. 5And the man Micah had a shrine and he made an ephod and household idols and consecrated one of his sons, that he might become his priest. 6In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.

      7Now there was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite; and he was staying there. 8Then the man departed from the city, from Bethlehem in Judah, to stay wherever he might find a place; and as he made his journey, he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah. 9Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to stay wherever I may find a place.10Micah then said to him, “Dwell with me and be a father and a priest to me, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, a suit of clothes, and your maintenance.” So the Levite went in. 11The Levite agreed to live with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12So Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in the house of Micah. 13Then Micah said, “Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, seeing I have a Levite as priest.”

There is a right way to live according to YHWH’s instructions. He instructed us in the Torah and the writings of the prophets. Yeshua was the word become flesh to demonstrate it for us. We have no authority then to change it and do as we please instead or to pick which elements we shall obey and which we will not, each man doing what seems right in his own eyes.

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