Bible Readings for August 3rd

Judges 17 | Acts 21 | Jeremiah 3031 | Mark 16

After the death of Samson in Judges 16, the book of Judges turns to narrate the final storyline we will read in this dark section of Israel’s history. This last, ugly narrative begins abruptly with a woman cursing whoever it is who had stolen 1,100 pieces of her silver (Judg. 17:2). Now, 1,100 pieces of silver is the exact amount the Philistines had promised to Delilah for betraying Samson in Judges 16:5, raising the question of the identity of this woman. Are we meant to think that this woman is Delilah, or did the woman simply take the silver? Is it possible that Delilah was killed by Samson at Dagon’s temple? Regardless, the number of silver coins at least invites us to associate this woman with the wicked Philistine temptress—hardly a flattering comparison.

But if this woman is portrayed unflatteringly, her son Micah is far worse. Micah had stolen silver from his own mother and returned it to her only to avoid her curse (Judg. 17:2). Then, when Micah’s mother gave him back the silver, he used it to create a carved image to worship (Judg. 17:4). Finally, to compound his sin further, Micah hired a Levite to be his personal priest (Judg. 17:12). Rather than recognizing the gross depravity of hiring a Levite for his own personal, private worship in his home, Micah was quite pleased with himself: “Now I know that the LORD will prosper me, because I have a Levite as priest” (Judg. 17:13).

How could things get so bad in Israel? How could an Israelite be so deceived as to think that Yahweh would honor his hiring of a Levite to serve him as priest—especially when the Levite would be conducting idolatrous worship with the ephod and the carved images that Micah had in his house?

All of this stems from the theme verse of Judges that we finally arrive at in Judges 17:6: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Micah’s mother, Micah, and the Levite all did what was right in their own eyes without ever trying to learn what was right in Yahweh’s eyes.

In fact, things will get worse—far worse—from here. But for now, ask yourself this question: Do you live according to your own vague notions of what you imagine would please God, or do you search the Scriptures to find out what does please him? Are you setting up your own religion under the guise of worshiping Yahweh, or is your life structured around repentance from your sin and faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ to make you righteous before your Father in heaven?

Brothers and sisters, do not follow in the wicked foolishness of Micah by doing whatever is right in your own eyes. Yahweh is serious about his word.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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