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