Each to his own

Jeff Weinkauf


Judges 17

Now a man named Micah from the hill country of Ephraim 2said to his mother, “The eleven hundred shekels[a] of silver that were taken from you and about which I heard you utter a curse—I have that silver with me; I took it.”

Then his mother said, “The Lord bless you, my son!”

3When he returned the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, she said, “I solemnly consecrate my silver to the Lord for my son to make an image overlaid with silver. I will give it back to you.”

4So after he returned the silver to his mother, she took two hundred shekels[b] of silver and gave them to a silversmith, who used them to make the idol. And it was put in Micah’s house.

5Now this man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod and some household gods and installed one of his sons as his priest. 6In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.

7A young Levite from Bethlehem in Judah, who had been living within the clan of Judah, 8left that town in search of some other place to stay. On his way[c] he came to Micah’s house in the hill country of Ephraim.

9Micah asked him, “Where are you from?”

“I’m a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah,” he said, “and I’m looking for a place to stay.”

10Then Micah said to him, “Live with me and be my father and priest, and I’ll give you ten shekels[d] of silver a year, your clothes and your food.” 11So the Levite agreed to live with him, and the young man became like one of his sons to him. 12Then Micah installed the Levite, and the young man became his priest and lived in his house. 13And Micah said, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, since this Levite has become my priest.”


Reading through Judges 17 today my first observation was “huh?” I kept asking why would this story exist is scripture? It seems so very backwards with everything mixed up and out of place. All of which where being presented as if common and not at all out of the ordinary.

Money is stolen, a curse is uttered, then the curse is “nullified” with a blessing. Then the money is consecrated to the Lord…to make an IDOL. If that’s not enough the idol is set up in a shrine with other household gods and an Ephod and one of families sons is made priest of the whole mess. But wait, then a Levite happens along which should mean spiritual guidance and correction toward God’s sacred code. Nope, the Levite agrees to come on board as personal priest (for hire) of the household.

What is everyone thinking? There is such a strange blending of what appear at first to be good intentions, but turn out to be at best ignorance, and at worst all out heresy. Money set aside for the Lord (good), but then used to make an idol (very bad). A section of the home set apart for worship (good). Filled with idols and an ephod which was specific to temple worship (bad). Seeing a need for spiritual leadership in the home (good). Making your own rules and setting up your own priest apart from God (bad).

This is a time when it says Israel did what ever it thought was right. With each to his own, doing a version of a la carte faith. Picking and choosing from a menu what made sense to them. No longer following the careful direction of God.


Then it starts to become clear. This is often us. We too, sometimes pick and choose only the things we find to be comforting, and leave the hard stuff behind. We want our version of God, not who God has revealed Himself to be. If we don’t like it, we modify our theology and make justification for the sin we blend in with the sacred.

So the story is not that strange after all, it’s probably closer to home than I’d like to realize. The antidote is to be fully aligned with God’s direction and guidance. We do that by getting to know Him better (spending time in His word), talking with Him (praying) and spending time with others who are doing the same. It’s imperative that as culture, and even Christian culture slide further away from God’s truths that we remain grounded in biblical truth.


God please help me to know you more, please help me to both stay centered and to keep you at the center of my world. Please take the place of honor and worship in my life, in my family’s life. Help me to know your voice and to respond. Amen

Devotions for April 03

Judges 17,18
Psalms 89
2 Corinthians 3

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