In his own eyes

The time of the judges is neatly summarized in Judges 17:6 — “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”  Similar thoughts are repeated several times in the last few chapters of the book.  But just in the first part of the first story we see several issues that a godly king such as David, Jehoshaphat or Josiah might have been able and willing to stave off.

Greed.  The Micah story starts with the main character stealing silver from his mother.  “The love of money” (1 Timothy 6:10) did not become the root of all kinds of evil in Paul’s day.

Passivity toward sin.  Yes, it was her son.  But Micah’s mother gives a blessing to Micah for simply confessing his sin, allowing him to profit directly from it.  Perhaps spanking a grown man would not have been appropriate; then again, perhaps more spankings earlier might have prevented the crime in the first place (Proverbs 22:15).

Profanity.  Micah said his mother “uttered a curse in my hearing” with regard to the theft of the silver.  The meaning is uncertain.  Clearly, though, she saw a material setback as an opportunity to, at best, lose her temper.  Possibly she even lashed out at God, as Job’s wife did (Job 2:9). 

Most obviously, false worship.  Moses was quite clear to the people that they were required to worship God in His way and His place when they entered Canaan.  However, the Israelites seem to have leapt at every opportunity to make “graven images” and “household idols.”  Whether they were corrupted versions of Jehovah worship or full-scale veneration of the native gods, clearly they were rejected by God — and ultimately cause for Israel’s fall.

We need a king in spiritual Israel today, and it must be Jesus Christ.  Giving in to the weaknesses of our sinful culture will bring God no glory, regardless of what name we wear.  A truly “holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9) must act in a holy manner (1 Peter 1:14-16).

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