Summary: During the times of the judges, Israel has lost sense of who God is and what His will is. They do not know the meaning and purpose of life. We need a compass in life, and that compass is God.
Judges 17:1-13 Life Without A Compass ES 13 Sep 15 1706
Do you know where North is? Which direction is North? How can you tell?
• If we are not sure, can we decide where North is? Can we all just agree to pick one direction and call it North?
• Can we change it? Who has the final say on this? Nobody.
• The compass has the final say. It’s the reality we are put in. There is only ONE North.
Many things in life are given. They are truths revealed to us, from creation and from the Creator.
• They are there NOT because we make them out to be; they are there because God designs them to be.
• We don’t create science; we discover science. We can study it, analyse it, test it, understand it, but we cannot change it.
Likewise God exists and He is involved in our lives. He is not a creation of our minds or our hands.
• The truth about God comes through revelations – from His Word (through inspired men and prophets) and from Jesus Christ, the God-incarnate (the clearest revelation of Himself).
• We are called to discover Him, to know Him and worship Him. When we find Him, we will find life – its meaning and purpose.
Life cannot be complete without God. We cannot live life without a reference to God. He is the compass for life.
• This was what happened to the people of Israel living in the times of the Judges.
• They’ve lost their compass. They’ve lost their reference point.
The author paints this picture for us in his conclusion. Chapter 17-21 is an epilogue, like an appendix to a book.
• With the last judge SAMSON, he has completed the series of stories regarding the various judges that God had raised to save His people.
• He ends this book recalling the sad events that had taken place in this very dark period of Israel’s history, when “Israel had no king” (repeated 4 times – 17:6, 18:1, 19:1 and 21:25) and everyone did what they like.
• It would seems that the author wants us to see these TWO big pictures:
(1) Israel lost sense of who God is (Judges 17-18). NO COMPASS.
• They’ve lost their bearing. They have broken their relationship with God, and they are not aware of it.
(2) Israel lost the meaning and purpose of life (Judges 19-21). NO MAP.
• They don’t know what they are living for. The last few chapters are “senseless”.
I want to share from the 1st part today – life without a compass.
[Let’s read Judges 17:1-13]
Judges 17:6 “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
• Israel has degenerated to the point where they can make their own gods and install their own priests. Both apostasy and idolatry rolled into one.
• And they do not know how LOST they were. They presume that God was with them and life goes on as usual.
• The truth is, we don’t always know we are lost. It takes some time. We can be deluded by false belief and not realise it.
Look at the situation here. We are introduced to a man named Micah.
• His mother was rich. Someone stole eleven hundred shekels of silver from her. That’s a lot of money.
• She cursed the thief, not knowing that it was her own son who stole from her.
• The curse was severe enough to scare her son into confessing. He confessed but what followed wasn’t a reprimand or the offer of a guilt offering before God.
• Her response was: “The Lord bless you, my son!” (17:2) She did not correct her son or set things right.
• She then decides to consecrate her silver to the Lord. How? By asking Micah to make a carved image and idol out of it.
• In one breath, she consecrates to God and makes an idol. She pays lip service to God and sin against God at the same time. This is outrageous but true.
• And she was oblivious to the irony of it all.
Verse 5 tells us that the carved image, together with the ephod and other idols, were all placed in a shrine in Micah’s house.
• And he installed one of his sons as his priest, which is against God’s command because only Levites can serve as priests (Deut 18:1).
And this is not the end of this messy situation. Next came a young Levite in 17:7.
• We got to know his name is Jonathan from 18:30. He is said to be from Bethlehem, but left Bethlehem in search of some other place to stay.