Summary: True religion as contrasted with Micah’s home made cult.

Do You Want the World to Revolve Around You? Judges 17:6

INTRO.: A certain credit card company has a commercial set in the board room of some international corporation. A merger is in progress. The CEO says everything is set to be finalized on the 28th. One office flunky at the copier turns and says, "Sorry, I’m only available on the 12th. There is a moment of silence while the board members look at each other in wonderment. Then the CEO says, "OK, the 12th it is." A narrator then asks, "Wouldn’t you like to world to revolve around you?" The commercial goes on to inform you that if you will subscribe to their credit card you can choose your own billing date. What a disappointment!

In fact, most of us would like the world to revolve around us. This is particularly true in the religious realm. Multitudes seek a Church or religious group that fits their preference. They go from one to another because they don’t like the preacher, the singing, the seating, etc. Failing to find the church that suits them, they may even resort to starting a new group or just quitting altogether and finding a service they like on TV.

We think everyone should agree with us and everything should go our way. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) it seldom happens.

There is a story in the Bible of a man who thought everything should revolve around him. His name is Micah and his story is in Judges 17 and 18.

I. Let’s look at his story and see what we can learn:

A. He lived in the hill country of Ephraim:

1. Probably not too far from "The House of the Lord at Shiloh" where God’s people were supposed to worship at that time.

2. No doubt there was something he didn’t like about Shiloh. Maybe it was just inconvenient for him to travel the short distance.

3. In any case, he had built a little chapel of shrine at his home.

B. He lived with his mother and she had a cache of silver.

1. The silver turned up missing. Micah had taken it. No reason to believe he stole it. He may have simply put it in a safe place.

2. Hearing his mother curse about it, he returned it and found out it had been set aside to make an image.

3. The idol was made and placed in his shrine. But, why leave it all alone? He also enshrined some household gods and installed his son as priest.

C. Now, Micah has his own church and his own gods.

1. However, it lacks legitimacy, so he hires a wandering Levite to serve as his priest.

2. It’s no longer necessary for him to go to Shiloh and put up with the dull preaching, hard seats, and tasteless unleavened bread.

3. In the end, his "homemade religion" turned out to be a real disappointment.

II. What was wrong with Micah’s little family cult?

A. It was superficial: A surface thing only.

1. He saw God as someone he could manipulate and move from place to place. As a guest in his spare bedroom.

2. Thought he could buy God’s blessing by hiring a priest.

3. There is no evidence any of his efforts to achieve God’s blessing changed his life in the least or made him a more spiritual man.

B. It was self righteous:

1. Everything he did was thought up in his own mind. No indication he prayed and asked for guidance, let alone consulted God’s Law.

2. Even the priest he hired had no influence in his life. Micah said, "live with me and be my father." but the record states, "the man was to him like one of his sons."

3. He didn’t expect to learn from the priest, who by calling was a teacher, nor does he intend to be guided in his personal or spiritual life.

C. It was powerless and unstable:

1. A wandering tribe of Danites came and simply walked off with his priest and all his religious artifacts. The story is in chapter 18.

2. When Micah pursued them, the mere threat of violence sent him scurrying. He knew his "god" could not protect him.

III. What does true religion consist in?

A. Surrender to God’s will: Rom. 12:1,

1. This involves acknowledging your sin and turning to Jesus for forgiveness.

2. He is the only way to reach God. We can’t make up our own way or invent our own gods. Jn. 14:6

3. Involves repentance, baptism, worship, Christian growth, Bible study, etc. Some of these things are neither easy nor convenient.

B. Help others in need: Jas. 1:27

1. Two ideas are crucial: Helping those in need and maintaining personal integrity and purity.

2. Never become weary in doing what is good. Sometimes it’s hard, but a reward is coming. It is worthwhile even when others are ungrateful. Gal. 6:9, 10

3. Other believers should be a special concern. We are all in the same boat.

C. Find encouragement: Hb. 3:13, 10:25

1. Real faith should encourage us. Micah’s "gods" let him down when he needed help. Ours will not. A victory is waiting for every follower of Jesus.

2. "But encourage one another daily" Heb. 3:13. As brothers and sisters in Christ, we should never be negative and discouraging.

3. Our worship should bring encouragement into our lives. That’s one reason we come together each week; for mutual encouragement and edification. Hb. 10:25

CONC.: Micah proved he didn’t need God. He made his own gods. He had a personal, private, customized religion. We can do the same. No one will stop us as long as we do nothing illegal. But, like Micah, we will experience a terrible disappointment in the end because no religion is adequate to the needs of the spirit of man and no religion can grant forgiveness and eternal life except that which God has given us. The only way to enjoy these blessings is through Jesus Christ.