Judgesby Gary Inrig
As we come to the end of Judges, we find an epilogue of two parts, joined by a common theme that rings throughout the entire book: people doing ″what was right in [their] own eyes″ (Judges 17:6; 21:25, NKJV). The first part (chapters 17-18) depicts the spiritual anarchy of a rebellious nation, while the second (chapters 19-21) shows their moral anarchy. Both parts focus on the fate of a tribe (Dan in chapters 17-18; Benjamin in chapters 19-21), and the emphasis is on ordinary people, not tribal leaders or judges.
In chapter 17, we are introduced to a new character, Micah. Right from the start, his story is pathetic.
Micah means ″who is like the Lord″, but his name is a total contradiction to his character and actions. Micah begins as a thief (v. 2), and advances to become an idolater (v. 5). The house of God was at Shiloh (see Judges 18:31), but Micah establishes a full-fledged shrine in his home, complete with a priestly garment, a molten image (an idol of poured silver), a graven image (a carved idol coated with silver), and a number of household gods. Then he installs one of his sons-a non-Levite-as priest.
Micah had invented his own little religion in the hills of Ephraim, not far from Shiloh. His idolatry had nothing to do with the unavailability of God's house; it had everything to do with his refusal to follow God's Word. It was an act of spiritual anarchy (Judges 17:6). It is important to note that Micah was not worshipping Baal or a false god. He was trying to worship the true God with his idols. He says: ″Now I know that the LORD [Yahweh] will be good to me″ (v. 13).
God forbids the worship not only of false gods, but also of the true God by images (see Exodus 20:4). Such false worship robs God of His glory: no picture or image can properly honour Him, and no created likeness can possibly reflect His nature. In fact, such images hide and deface His majesty and greatness. That is why God detests images. They mislead people and give false views of God-and nothing is more destructive than that.
But our greater problem is mental idols. While we may not build physical idols like Micah did, we may form mental pictures of God, saying things like, ″I like to think of God as the great Father in the skies, not as a judge.″ But God is who He is and what He is; human concepts of God are irrelevant. God has revealed himself, and He demands that our understanding of Him conform to what He has revealed about himself in His Word.
What mental images of God do you hold? Who or what shapes your view of God?
What can we do to ensure that we have an accurate view of God?