Devotion – Judges 17

Does it matter HOW you worship God?  A lot of people believe that as long as you worship God, it doesn’t matter how you do it?  As long as you come to church and sing the songs.  As long as you have a good feeling in your heart, and think about God in some way, that you have worshiped God.

This story teaches that God is concerned about how we worship.  In the 10 Commandments, God had told his people not to make idols as objects of worship.  His desire was for His people to worship Him with their hearts.  In this story, Micah stole a lot of money from his mother.  When she cursed the person who stole her money, Micah felt guilty and gave the money back.  In a sort of twisted way, his mother said that she wanted to dedicate the money to God, so she took the silver to a silversmith and had him make an idol and other objects of worship.  They then set up a shrine to worship God with the idols and other objects.  This is where it is weird.  They kind of set a church in their own backyard, and decided that they could worship God on their own terms.  You see, they really believed they were worshiping God when they went into the shrine and bowed to the idols.  But we can’t come to God any way we want.  We must come to Him as he commands.

Micah even found a priest who would be his own personal priest, thinking that if he had his own idols, and his own priest, that God would really hear him and he could really worship God.  The Levites were one of the twelve tribes of Israel, but this tribe was the tribe of priests and religious leaders.  Funny how you can create just about any spiritual idea and then find some religious nut to call himself the pastor of that idea.  Shows that just because a person has a white clergy collar or an ordination certificate on his wall, that does not necessarily make him holy or a person who speaks for God.   But if we are going to come to God, we have to do it on His terms!

Is there a parallel to this story in God’s people today?  Of course.  Many people believe they can come to church and worship God on their own terms.  They think they can show up with a bad attitude, sing the songs half-heartedly, not really pay attention to the preacher, and leave the same as they came in.  Church is a place to have ears tickled and hearts uplifted, but not a place to bow before the eternal God in submission.  We come on our own terms, and God will accept what we offer to him, no matter how lame or off base it is.  Paul warned of such a time in 2 Timothy 4:3 as he challenges his son in the faith, Timothy, to faithfully preach the Word of God.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

The essence of worship is a life submitted to God.  If God can never contradict us, never convict, never challenge to change, never push us, then we don’t really want a God, we want a genie.  For this to happen, true worship begins with a heart that is full of the Holy Spirit.  We must want everything God has to offer, and give everything we are to Him.  Second, true worship is based on the truth of God’s Word.  We must worship as God has taught in His Word.

God didn’t respond to Micah’s worship.  Micah was never blessed by God, nor did God do anything in his life as a result of his worship.  When we worship half-heartedly, giving only the leftovers to God, our results will be the same as Micah.

When you go to church Sunday, remember Micah, and worship God in spirit and in truth!

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