User Friendly Religion
– The book of Judges began with a double introduction (1:1-2:5; 2:6-3:6), and ends with a double conclusion (17-18; 19-21).
– the first conclusion which we consider this morning emphasizes Israel’s religious corruption
– the second conclusion which we will consider next time emphasizes Israel’s moral corruption
I. Corruption of the Laity (17:1-6)
1) Crisis in the Family
a) A son who steals from his mother, and a mother who steals from God
b) Parents who lead their family in false religion (syncretism – a blending of true worship with false worship)
2) Micah’s Personal Cult
a) Fills his house with idols
b) Ordains his own son to be a priest
c) Has a thoroughly pagan understanding of God and God’s ways (v. 13)
d) Everyone is doing what is right in his own eyes – personalized, privatized, user-friendly religion!
– As the family goes, so goes the church and the nation. Discipleship must begin within our homes!
– If we rationalize disobedience to God and His Word, we are as guilty of idolatry as Micah and his mother
II. Corruption of the Clergy (17:7-13)
1) A Wandering Levite
a) The grandson of Moses! (cf. 18:30)
b) Not living in one of the designated cities – Why not?? The people stopped tithing
2) A Religious Opportunist
a) Works for the highest bidder
b) A ‘hireling’ who does not care about God’s Word or tending the flock
c) Tells the people what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear (v. 6)
God’s people must be discerning in every age. Do not blindly accept everything you see on TV and read online from so-called spiritual authorities. Test everything you see, hear and read against the Scripture!
III. Corruption of the Nation (18:1-31)
1) A Wandering Tribe
a) Sending out of the ‘spies’ in vv. is a parody of Joshua and Caleb, and a stinging indictment of Israel
b) Dan had been given land already – they are ‘homeless’ because of sin
2) An Idolatrous Tribe
a) Their depravity is emphasized by the fact that they are stealing idols!
b) The massacre at Laish was not sanctioned by God – they were wiped out because they were an easy target (v. 27)
c) The sin of Micah is now replicated at the Tribal/ national level – Dan remains a site of Idol worship (cf 1 Kings 12:26-30); the tribe is not listed in Revelation 7
The outward trappings of ‘success’ do not in any way guarantee God’s hand of blessing on our lives or in our ministries: “Many justify themselves in their impiety by their prosperity” -Matthew Henry