As I work my way through the Bible, I find myself compelled to speak specifically to Judges 17-18. These chapters tells us about the sin of one man and how this one man’s sin ends up permeating the entire tribe of Dan.
Micah was a thief. How do I know? He tells us he is as he explains how he had stolen from his mother (Judges 17:2). What does he do with this stolen money? He asks for it back from his mother after he reimburses her for his previous thievery and creates for himself household gods – i.e. false, silver idols. Micah creates a shrine and an ephod for his false gods, installing his son as high priest. Micah offered a passing Levite a large sum of money to be his personal priest for his false gods. The Levite turned his back on the Lord, worshipping a false god for money.
The tribe of Dan then goes out to find their land. They pass through Micah’s home and find the Levite there and these household gods. Knowing that it is a Levite, the people of Dan ask him to come with them, to become their priest, and to bring his household gods with him. The Levite accepts. Dan invades and takes their new land with this Levite installed as their priest.
What happened here? One man fell victim to sin. He stole money and created for himself gods. Remember this – man did not create God, God created man. Those who forget this fact are doomed to fall victim to the same sin Micah did. He wanted a god he could control, instead of the true God who is far beyond us. This god of his device was under his control, but worthless. This household god provided nothing to Micah. It may have made him feel better, but in the end it was just a statue made of silver. It did not provide him with the blessings the Lord can provide. We know the Lord is beyond our control, which is why we look to things we can control and worship. Money, power, television, even people in our lives can become our household gods if we put them above the Lord. We need to remember that while we may care for these things, we may even need these things – these are just things. They are created, not the Creator. They are fleeting and can go as easily as they came. Micah saw this with his gods as they were taken from him. What did Micah have after that? Nothing.
The Lord, however, can provide you everything. He does not waver. He is not fleeting and no man can take Him from you.
But, let us not end this lesson there. What happened with Micah’s household gods? He brought in a Levite, a man who was dedicated to the Lord. Instead of continuing to be dedicated to the Lord, he allowed himself to fall prey to the problems of this world. Instead of waiting for the Lord to provide, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He took Micah up on his offer to become his personal priest. He allowed the fleeting to take over, to take control of his life. What happened next? The people of Dan saw a Levite, a man of the Lord and assumed him to be true. They needed a Levite in their midst, so they called him in. He then brought his foreign god, his false god and led them astray. One man’s sin became the sin of many.
This has happened before. We see how in the beginning one man, Adam, and his sin impacted the entire human race. Through his sin, fallenness and brokenness entered into the world creating widespread impact. In honesty, this sin of Micah is a small scale version of the impacts of Adam’s sin.
When we see examples of this we have to ask ourselves – who will our sin impact? It can impact our friends, our children, our siblings, our coworkers. Who do they impact? Their friends, their children, their siblings, their families. One person’s sin can multiply exponentially impacting far more than expected. This is why we strive for perfection. This is why we strive to be better. I myself have many people in my life who could be negatively impacted by my own sin. I need to be better for my children and my family. I need to ensure my sin doesn’t permeate into their lives.
Our sin is like a single drop of black paint placed into a bucket of white paint. It changes everything. That is what our sin does to the lives of those around us. Again, this is why we strive to be more like Christ. We look to Him as our example, not the examples of men, like the Levite disregarded the Lord in exchange for the gifts of this world. Let us never forget that.
Based on an article originally written September 20, 2011