The Results of Forgetting the Lord

Bible Book: Judges  17 : 1-13
Subject: Forgetting God; False Religion; Impure Faith

Judges 17:1-13

It only takes one generation turning from God for a nation to suffer great spiritual consequences. This was the case for Israel. This chapter reveals the devastation of departing from God and the effects it can have on a family. The character of Micah and his mother give a vivid picture of the general spiritual condition of Israel during this period.

A survey done by George Barna found that 61% of today's young adults had been churched at one point during their teen years but they are now spiritually disengaged (i.e., not actively attending church, reading the  Bible, or praying).



Micah means “Who is like Jehovah?” Like many today, he gave lip service to God and even had a godly name. Micah's morals or the lack of morals are recorded in out text. He was a thief. He had stolen eleven hundred shekels of silver from his mother.  An average yearly salary in Micah’s day was ten pieces of silver. Micah had stolen a fortune from his mother.  After hearing his mother's curse on the thief who stole her silver, Micah became afraid. His fear was not toward God, but because of the curse his mother placed upon the thief. He admitted his thievery and returned the silver that belonged to his mother.  Micah was not broken over his sin; instead, he was merely trying to save himself.


Micah's mother did not discipline her son for being a thief. His mother excused his sinful actions. She blessed Micah and rewarded him by having a silversmith make for him idols that he could place in his home. His mother encouraged and supported Micah's sinful behavior.  

We can understand Micah's morals by looking at his mother's example. She made the claim that she had dedicated the eleven hundred shekels "unto the LORD." Instead, she used the silver to have the silversmithmake a graven image and a molten image. A graven image was a wooden idol overlaid with silver whereas a molten image was of solid silver.

God's Word was clear to Israel concerning idols. "Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up [any] image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God." (Leviticus 26:1 KJV)

In the very next verse, we read she only gave two hundred pieces of silver to make the idols. She must have had a change of heart and kept the nine hundred pieces of silver for herself. Since she had already dedicated the silver to the LORD, she was guilty of stealing from God and using the silver to make idols. Micah's mother was a thief and idolater. 

The definition of idolatry, according to Webster, is “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing.” An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God. Micah and his mother worshiped the images of pagan deities rather than the God of Israel. 

There are some religions today that have their people bow before statues and icons, a practice forbidden by God’s Word. While we do not bow down to images and idols, we do have our idols. The apostle John warned us of the danger of having idols in our lives. "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen."(1 John 5:21 KJV)

Someone has said of the mother and son, "They managed to break seven of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1–17) without even leaving their home."

What are some of the modern day idols?

1) Idol of materialism

The tenth commandment tells us of the sin of coveting: "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor" (Exodus 20:17). In Colossians 3:5, Paul stated that covetousness is idolatry. Paul gave this warning, "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." (1 Corinthians 10:14 KJV)

 2) Idol of science

Today we believe that science has all the answers and can solve all our problems. We will discredit the Word of God while embracing science. We reject God’s Word and we readily accept the nonsense of evolution and naturalism. 

3) Idol of entertainment

Someone has rightly said: "In American culture, one of the biggest idols that has consumed people’s hearts and minds is the god of entertainment.  We worship our entertainment and look to it to make us happy, fulfilled and alive. It consumes our time, our money, our devotion, our thoughts and our hearts." We idolize sport stars, movie stars, and singers. Amusements of all kinds are gods to many professing Christians.

4) Idol of self

While there are other idols we could consider, the greatest idol is the worship of self. The god of self is the center of our lives. We have been called the "me generation." We place ourself before God. Our decisions are made based upon what pleases "me" rather than what pleases God. We will serve self before we serve others.  We will spend our money on self rather than give faithfully to the Lord. We will spend our money on entertainment before we will help a needy brother or sister in the Lord. 

Preachers who preach a health, wealth, and prosperity gospel have large followings because this appeals to the flesh. Someone has said: "All idolatry of self has at its core the three lusts found in 1 John 2:16: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 

As long as I am focused on myself, I am not focused on Jesus. A fixation with self only leads to pride and all consuming attention on "me."

God stated in Exodus 20:2-3: "I am the Lord your God…. You shall have no other gods before me."  



1. Idols of Micah. (v. 5) "Micah had a house of gods"

Israel's place of worshiping God was in the temple in Jerusalem. Only a Levite could serve as priest in the temple. Micah built himself a private shrine in his own home for all his gods. He appointed one of his own sons to be his priest which was forbidden by Moses. He patterned his private place of worship by making an ephod that was only to be worn by the high priest of Israel. (Lev. 8:7) Teraphims are idols people had in their homes. Scripture condemns the use of teraphim. 

Micah's religion was entirely of his own making. The LORD had revealed to Moses and to Israel how they were to worship Him. Micah wanted his own gods so he could worship his own way. 

This pattern of man-pleasing religion is common with many religions and churches today. They worshipimages of Mary, Jesus, Joseph, and the saints. 

An idol is anything that replaces the one, true God. The most common form of idolatry in Bible times was the worship of images, the various pagan deities.

2. Influences on Micah. (v. 6) "every man did that which was right in his own eyes"    

The Lord was the King in Israel. The problem was that Israel would not recognize her true King. They had rejected the Lord and every man "did that which was right in his own eyes." Pr. 14:12

The people of Israel had failed to obey Joshua in destroying the altars of the inhabitants of the land. Israelfollowed other gods of the nations and served them. Two of those false gods were Baal and Ashtaroth. (Judges 2:13)

As the older generation died, the new generation came along "who knew not the LORD." (Judges 2:10) They would not listen to the judges whom God had risen up to turn them from their error. Instead, they played the harlot with other gods. Judge 2:17 says "they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in."

Israel had no godly king to be their judge and leader, so the people did what was right in their own eyes. Israel had disregarded God and His laws. They had no godly civil leader to guide them. Micah was influenced by the religious practices of the people as well as their behavior. 


1. Desire of Micah. (v. 10-12) "Dwell with me"

One of Micah's sons served as priest in his house of gods, that is, until a young man from Bethlehem-Judah came to Mount Ephraim. He stopped at the house of Micah. The young man was questioned by Micah and he said, "I am a Levite." On hearing that the young man was a Levite, Micah said to him, "Dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest." 

The term "father" is a title of honor. Micah invited the young Levite to be his personal priest in his house of gods. 

Micah offered the young Levite a handsome salary of ten shekels of silver yearly, a suit of clothes, and a living allowance in food and drink. The wandering Levite now had a place to live.

2. Deception of Micah. (v. 13)

Micah thought the LORD would do him good because he had a Levite as his priest. Micah was deceived in believing that the true God of Israel would bless him although he was worshipping idols of which the LORD found to be an abomination. "Cursed is the man who makes an idol or a molten image, an abomination to the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret." (Deut. 27:15)


1. Religion is flourishing in America. While most Americans believe in God, there is much confusion.

2. Like Micah and his mother, we have no problem mixing the beliefs of different religions together. 

3. The greatest investment the church can make is in the younger generation.

4. The greatest investment parents can make is in their child's spiritual walk with God. 

5. Are you confused and have lost your way to God? Call upon Him now. He is near to those who seek Him with all their hearts.