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Archive for June 30th, 2017


Judges 17: What we See as Best

Micah’s Idol

Friday, June 30, 2017

Everyone did what he thought best . . .

A few days ago, a friend sent me a link to an article about the “me generation” and she wrote in her message:  This is really important . . . make sure you click the link in it about
‘moralistic therapeutic deism’   http://douthat.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/17/the-me-generation/?nl=opinion&emc=tyb1

I followed the link as she suggested and was not surprised to read that many of us have formulated a god that suits our needs rather than search for the God who is the Living God.  Today we read about a man and his mother who struggle to survive in those days when there was no king in Israel and everyone did what he thought best . . .

The HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY tells us something about this brief story. “The strange account begins abruptly with a theft, a curse, and the making of an idol.  From the outset Micah is presented negatively.  He steals a large sum of money from his own mother (eleven hundred pieces of silver is the amount each Philistine had promised Delilah, 16:5) and engages in apparent syncretistic religious practices . . . Although the exact function and nature of all of this ritual paraphernalia [the ephod, etc.] are obscure, there can be no little doubt that the piling up of these terms is meant as ironic disapproval.  The idol, after all, is made from stolen silver; and though Micah’s mother consecrates all of it to the Lord, she obviously keeps the larger portion”. (Mays 236)

From the article link sent by my friend: As described by Smith and his team, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these: 1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.” 2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.” 3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.” 4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.” 5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20050418/moralistic-therapeutic-deism-the-new-american-religion/index.html

As we read from Judges today – a Book that narrates for us the endless cycle of our turning away from God to pagan deities, of suffering and remorse, of repentance, atonement and forgiveness – we cannot help but see the connection with the kind of thinking outlined in the article from the CHRISTIAN POST.  We humans quickly devolve into self-serving creatures when left to our own design; and it is a miracle that our loving and generous God continues to forgive us for our lack of fidelity.

Despite the fact that centuries have passed since the writing of this simple, sad story, we are presented with data suggesting that we have not evolved much spiritually.  We live in those days when there is the rule of God’s kingdom still . . . everyone does what he thinks best.

Let us pray that we see our ways, and then mend what needs mending.

For more about Micah in JUDGES, visit: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/jamieson-fausset-brown/judges/judges-17.html 

Adapted from a reflection written on June 24, 2010.

Mays, James L., ed.  HARPERCOLLINS BIBLE COMMENTARY. New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1988. 236. Print.

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