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Judges 17

Talks for Growing Christians

The Dark Days of the Judges

Judges 17

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Lesson Number 25

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Spiritual decline opens the door for syncretism.
  2. Spiritual decline opens the door for self-seekers.

Practical Application

  1. Beware of idols creeping into the church.

Questions

  1. The period of the judges lasted about 350 years, from the time of Samuel to the beginning of the monarchy. Why is this period sometimes called "the dark days of the judges?"
  2. What does the name Micah mean? Did the Micah in this section live up to his name?
  3. Define syncretism.
  4. Give an example of syncretism during the time of the judges.
  5. What leads to syncretism?
  6. Give an example of syncretism today in our country.
  7. Was the Levite in this story a God-honoring man?
  8. What was the reaction of the people of Israel to Micah's "service" for the Lord?

Answers

  1. After Joshua died, the children of Israel went downhill spiritually and morally. There was no moral authority, especially toward the end of this period, and "Everyone did that which was right in his own eyes." (v. 6)
  2. The name means, "Who is like the Lord." This Micah did not live up to his name because he robbed his mother, then returned the silver when he heard her pronouncing a curse on the thief. Then he set up a shrine for his mother's idols, and consecrated one of his own sons as a priest for the shrine. All of these actions were contrary to the word of the Lord.
  3. Syncretism is the fusion of two or more religious systems. It is a melting pot religion.
  4. The people would fall away from following the Lord, and begin to serve foreign gods. Micah's mother desired the Lord's blessing on her son, but she made molten silver images. The shrine in this household was a mixture of beliefs and practices, yet they thought it was going to bring the Lord's blessing.
  5. Spiritual decline.
  6. The celebration of Christmas and the significance of Christ's birth is accompanied, or even outshined by Santa Claus and commercialism. The celebration of Easter and the significance of the cross is accompanied, or even superceded by the Easter bunny and candy eggs.
  7. No. He broke God's law because he saw a good deal for himself. For room and board, good clothes, and a salary, he sold himself out and became a priest for Micah. Then he left Micah and become a priest for the tribe of Dan because there were even more benefits for himself.
  8. Because of the spiritual decline in Israel, no one found any fault with it. "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

Discuss/Consider

  1. Syncretism, a melting pot religion, happened many times in Israel's history when the people fell away from following the Lord and served foreign gods. Discuss the syncretism observed in our culture today. Remember that it is the result of spiritual decline. Beware the subtlety of syncretism. Be strong in biblical beliefs and practices.
  2. The Levite in this story was a self-seeking opportunist, breaking God's law to benefit himself. There are self-seekers among Christians today. Beware being taken in by these people.

Challenge

  1. Beware of idols creeping into the church. Beware of worshipping false gods. Even the sanctuary itself can be placed above worship of the Lord.

Key Verses

  • "I had wholly dedicated the silver from my hand to the Lord...to make a carved image and a molded image." Judges 17:3
  • "Everyone did what was right in his own eyes." Judges 17:6

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