A STUDY IN THE BOOK OF JUDGES…Chapters 17-18 –
The Following From “Through the Looking Glass”
Humpty Dumpty and Alice were having an in-depth conversation about birthday presents. Because Humpty Dumpty’s physical appearance (no neck and no waist), Alice had made a remark about his beautiful belt and was promptly corrected to “a beautiful cravat.” Evidently Humpty Dumpty was very angry though he said nothing for a minute or two.
Evidently Humpty Dumpty was very angry though he said nothing for a minute or two. He informs Alice that his “cravat was a present from the White King and Queen. “They gave it to me–for an un-birthday present.”
“I beg your pardon?” Alice said with a puzzled air…I mean what is an ‘un-birthday present’?”
“A present given when it isn’t your birthday, of course.”
Alice considered for awhile, “I like birthdays best.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about!” cried Humpty Dumpty. “How many days are there in a year?”
“There are three hundred and sixty-five,” said Alice.
“And how many birthdays have you?”
“And if you take one from three hundred and sixty-five, what remains?”
“Three hundred and sixty-four, of course.”
Humpty Dumpty looked doubtful at Alice’s math. “I’d rather see that on paper,” he said.
Alice couldn’t help smiling as she took out her memorandum-book, and worked the sum for him.
Humpty Dumpty took the book and looked at it carefully. “That seems to be done right.”
“You’re holding it upside down,” Alice interrupted.
“To be sure I was!” Humpty Dumpty said as she turned it around for him. “That surely shows that these are three hundred and sixty-four days when you might get un-birthday presents.”
“Certainly,” said Alice.
“And only ONE for birthday presents, you know. There’s glory for you!”
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled…”Of course, you don’t–till I tell you. I meant there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean–neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master–that’s all.”
[See Footnote [i] ]
It seems a bit silly, doesn’t it? “When I use a word it means whatever I choose it to mean?” What would life be like with no absolute, no certainties, nothing to measure oneself by.
The Bible tells us that there was a time just like that when people measured themselves…by themselves. The Book of Judges points this out for us to meditate on:
Judges 17:6 (NIV) – In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
SCRIPTURE FOUND IN JUDGES 17 –
Spiritual Anarchy Always Results In MORAL Collapse –
It follows this pattern:
- You have a person with no moral compass.
- They meet another person with no moral compass.
- They multiply their SIN and spiritually bankrupt themselves and a DANGER to others.
A Pathetic Story is unveiled.
Son of a wealthy family…looking for the easy way out. MICAH didn’t want to wait for inheritance…didn’t want to work for anything…saw what he wanted…and with no moral compass…took it.
JUDGES 17:1o indicates that ten shekels of silver a year was an adequate wage.
 And Micah said to him, “Dwell with me and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver each year, a suit of clothes, and your living…” (AMP)
Therefore, 1,100 shekels was a great fortune (vs. 2).
But without the true belief in God, Micah fell prey to superstition, feared his mother’s curse and so confessed his sin.
And it was easy to pick up on how this young man got there…A THIEF. He learned it at his mother’s knee. She stole 900 shekels from God.
I see one of the true tragedies of our times where so many parents who are steering through some sort of MORAL FOG of relativism…having no moral bearings or compass to pass on to their children. So, their children get deeper and deeper into the FOG.
I see my own extended family…PARENTS abandoning the church, the Word, and the faith. What is left…NO ABSOLUTES…just relativism.
And the grandchildren parents…the relativism doesn’t match the relativism of their friends, so they pick and choose. There’s no king, no absolute or higher law…so they do what is right in their own sight.
Notice in the verses, how the mother didn’t even correct her son for stealing. How could she–a THIEF herself! Not only was she guilty of failing to do right by him…she was guilty of leading him to sin. She was the one responsible for getting him into IDOLATRY.
EXODUS 20:4-5 (NIV)
 “You shall not make for yourself an idol; in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.”
This is what happens when you combine two hearts and minds, both wicked and neither having principles…The SIN is multiplied…IDOLATRY. That’s the reason God wants us to have Christians friends, partners, and spouse. Two persons without MORAL COMPASSES combine their SIN and then you become spiritually bankrupt, spiritually malnourished and starving.
God’s ANGER burned against Micah, his mother, and now Micah’s son.
That’s the Nature of Sin…it always takes you farther than you wanted and always keeps you longer than you wanted. It always involves others.
MICAH consecrated one of his sons to be his Priest. Sin because ONLY God can consecrate someone as a priest. MICAH and his mother have now dragged Micah’s son into the quagmire.
But Micah wasn’t finished yet…his SIN would get much deeper, endangering many more people.
Here’s a 2nd Sad Case… we have a person who is a Levite but not a priest (not in the lineage of Aaron) but he is masquerading as a priest. He’s dissatisfied with his position and his inheritance.
When Israel was divided among the 12 tribes…
The tribe of LEVI is the only one who didn’t receive a territory–they received 8 cities. They received no land and were to be supported by the tithes of the other 11 tribes. A LEVITE would never own land or have riches.
But the LEVITE wanted more and left Bethlehem (17:8).
He had determined that he would go whereever…do whatever and make a name and fortune. He had lost his moral/spiritual compass, what’s right and wrong…resolutions, different from Micah.
MICAH never had a compass, but the Levite did.
The LEVITE and MICAH meet (17:9-13).
This was an accident waiting to happen meeting another accident waiting to happen!
THE RESULT: BIG BANG!
Micah wanted a proper Levitical priest (to get God’s favor) and the Levite wanted fortune and fame. They were a perfect match…made in Hell!
The LEVITE was a member of the CLERGY…not a priest.
He wasn’t supposed to be a PRIEST…not from the priestly family. In Numbers 16, God caused the ground to swallow a LEVITE that tried to be a priest.
BUT HE WAS HAPPY!
He had been dissatisfied with his position God had placed him in for his life, and now, he was determined to make his own plans and he was happy…at least for a while.
He was serving an IDOL, sacrificing to an IDOL, leading others in the process to do the same. The Levite had moved beyond the sins of PRIDE and INGRATITUDE…was now in the big leagues…IDOLATRY.
Now he was spiritually destroyed and in danger to others around him. But his sin had not reached its peak.
3rd Sad Story (Judges chapter 18) –
Scripture tells us that the tribe of Dan was seeking an INHERITANCE ” for themselves” (verse 1). They were not satisfied with God’s plan. And God’s PLAN for them: He had given the land between Ephraim and Judah, stretching to the Mediterranean Sea.
It wasn’t as they claimed, that God had not given them a territory to possess, but rather that they chose NOT to possess it because that would cause them to have to defeat the Amorites living there. Their FAITH in God’s promises was lacking.
They loved the junk-food of easy living.
“GOD’S WAY IS TOO HARD…WE WANT AN EASIER WAY!”
That’s what Micah said…that was what the Levite said…now Dan says it.
And today it is the CRY of Society…God’s way is too hard, too demanding…we want a new God.
So the tribe of Dan left their homes in the Promised Land and sought a new, easier place to live. They left their COMPASS of absolute right and wrong…lost in relativism. That’s where they were when they met the LEVITE, another one without a COMPASS.
REMEMBER: they are guilty of disobedience, lack of faith, fear, and last but not least…LAZINESS.
They are looking for a god to stamp–validate their plans, and the Levite is looking to move up…BIG BANG!
They took the Levite to be THEIR Priest and the gods of Micah to be their own.
Look how steep the slope has become…
It started with a SINFUL MOTHER with no principles, no king, and she was in danger.
She led her son into IDOLATRY.
MICAH became spiritually bankrupt and dangerous to others.
Micah led the Levite into IDOLATRY.
The LEVITE became spiritually bankrupt, malnourished and dangerous to others.
The Levite led Dan into IDOLATRY.
The Story Is the Same…Only the Names Change Throughout History.
Eve lost her COMPASS…met the serpent with no compass, fell into SIN…danger to others.
Samson lost his COMPASS…met women with none…fell into SIN…danger to others.
David, Solomon, Jacob, the list goes on.
When you get to the point where you are no longer satisfied with God’s way because it’s too hard, it doesn’t give you what you want, it’s NOT fun…then you decide to choose your own way of doing things…you toss away the COMPASS…absolute right and wrong.
You’re bound to run into others like yourself.
Together, you will get more LOST, deeper into SIN. You too will become morally/spiritually BANKRUPT. You become a danger to others and you have NO COMPASS.
WHAT’S THE CURE?
You’ve got to hold on to the COMPASS, no matter what!
What is the COMPASS?
The Word…the Holy Spirit.
As long as you have the Word of God in your heart, Holy Spirit in the driver’s seat, and not deceived by the bogus teachings or promises of the world.
But it all starts right here…Satan’s first move is to get you off the straight and narrow; to give up the COMPASS…the ABSOLUTES.
To accept RELATIVISM…” the doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society…is not absolute” (Google dictionary).
- All roads lead to God,
- All religions are the same.
- Each person must decide for self what is right and wrong,
- Other religions have their bibles,
- There are no ABSOLUTES.
With it, he has you!
No matter how good your reasoning and rationale might seem, if God calls it SIN…then it’s SIN.
We need to make sure that as Christians, we never slide into the category of “Doing what is right in our lives.”
That we never define our actions with the attitude “Whenever I use a word it means whatever I choose it to mean,” said Humpty Dumpty scornfully.
FOOTNOTES & CREDITS:
Footnote [i] : Alice in Wonderland – Wiki – Humpty Dumpty a novel by Lewis Carrol and Who Says It’s Right? by Denn Guptill, Jan. 5, 2004.
PHOTOS: Google Image Search – advanced SETTINGS.
Bible Translations: New International Version (NIV), Amplified Bible (AMP), except where noted.