Having a God who gives you what you want

Judges 17-18


Jerry A Collins



v     How do we create our own gods?

v     Why do we want to create our own gods?

v     What happens to us when we create our own gods?


Like you, we had bullies in our neighborhood. Guys like Larry K. who found pleasure in making life miserable for me and for some of my brothers. Jim Braden, Gary Moore, and Tony Kayson were some others along with Rich Reedy and Vic Shallow. Guys who for one reason or another always messed with me or us. I remember one time, Larry K. chasing my brother, George who curled up in a ball and all Larry could do was pound on his back while he was wearing a think winter jacket not making a dent. He finally yelled that he was going to get his bigger brother, Kenny, to beat him up. But there were times when we would get into fights ourselves with one another. It was one thing to face threats from without but the ones that were internal, between us brothers, were much more difficult to solve and indicated an internal decay worse than the outer threats to us.  For the past three chapters, we have had described a threat from the outside, in this case the Philistines. Samson checked this threat in his many exploits. But now a second problem, much more ominous and harder to define and much more difficult to solve, is internal. What we will soon discover in weighing the relative dangers of external threats and internal decay is that Judges underscores internal decay as the greater problem. This is seen in these final chapters of Judges, 17-21, which culminate the message of the book itself. Two main events are highlighted; the move of the tribe of Dan and the Benjaminite civil war. All is summed up in one phrase which stands in stark contrast to the preaching of Moses, Joshua, and later reformers like Samuel—all of whom attempted to help Israel recognize who God is. The phrase is that of Micah—the main character of 17-18—a man from the hill country of Ephraim… You’re taking away the very gods which I made…what do I have left? Judges 18:24. How have these attitudes developed? How could they end decaying internally?


These two chapters are about the religious man named Micah.

1. He steals his mothers money after she places a curse upon the incident not knowing it was her son who had done so 1-2. So we question Micah’s integrity from the get-go.

2. He confessed and she is so happy she uses some of the returned cash to have her son make a carved image from it 2-4. God’s blessing is invoked throughout the incident vs 2-3. As if God is party to all that is being said and done.

3. Micah is a very religious man—had his own shrines, his own idols, and his son consecrated as a priest for him vs 5. This was a direct violation of Num 3:5-10, Aaron and his sons were to be the priests. Any others who tried it were to be put to death. Again, we have to question this man’s integrity.

4. A Levite from Bethlehem wanders into Micah’s house and amazed at this turn of events, Micah offers him security, clothes and shelter and food if he will be Micah’s personal priest. Micah consecrates this priest vs 1.

5. The conclusion vs 13, Micah says Now I know the Lord will prosper me, seeing I have a Levite as priest. Now what is wrong with this picture? Vs 6 says every man did what was right in his own eyes. Micah determined the will of God by 1) his circumstances, 2) the word of other people, 3) opportunity. Micah followed all three of these and he even believed that God would prosper him by having this priest which was a violation of the Word of God. But this is how internal decay works—you actually believe you can determine the will of God without the Word of God using circumstances, opportunities and agreement of others that violate that Word and believe God will agree! When you plan to disobey God, Satan will pave the way for your disobedience. Even if he did not, you would find one on your own. And you would find someone to confirm it as being the rite plan—maybe even a clergy.


First, we are reminded again that there is no king in Israel 1. So the people are vulnerable to their own whims. Here is the migration of the Danites—the tribe in vulnerable Philistine country forced up into the hills, refusing to fight and decide to do the easy thing. To find other land they could take and hold more easily. Second, they send out a search party and wouldn’t you know it they come across Micah’s house, meet the priest, ask how he got there, and want him to enquire if their plan to relocate is approved by God? The priest says yes that is sovs 2-6. Now how would you know if what you wanted to do was right or wrong if you ask a priest or pastor and they said it was okay to do? It was not okay for the tribe of Dan to do this. God told them to fight for their territory—to take possession of it. You can only know from the written Word of God. The authority has to be in the Word of God not the clergy. Notice the difference between this prayer request and that of Judges 1:1. Here the request is in the context of a manmade worship center that violated the Word and will of God. It had a graven image, idols, ephod, and a false priest. Here they were asking approval for what they wanted to do rather than what God wanted them to do. They were looking for approval rather than direction—approval from a religious leader which might make their agenda more acceptable—not the Word of God. This will be one of the most powerful temptations for us—to want to seek approval for what we want to do that violates the word of God—and the temptation to want to give it will be just as strong.


First, they find a peaceful people isolated form others vs 7. Just the right spot. No rowdy neighbors and no security threats. They came back home and told the Danites to get up there quick and take it vs 8-10. They concluded for God has given it into your hand. Because the circumstances are favorable we can say God has given it. But we already know God had given them land that was not favorable nut would have to be fought for and won. It would not be easy. But we think God wants it easy. The spiritual life is a cakewalk and we deserve heaven now. Notice, it is God’s will for us to be there and notice, PROSPERITY is the test!

Second, they return to Micah’s house and want to take his idols with them 16-20 so they steal them. The priest attempted to stop them so they bribe him with more money if he comes with them. They have a bigger congregation 19-20. His heart was glad for more butts in the seats. Micah given raw deal and forced to go home losing his idols and his priest 21- 26. The Danites kill the people of Laish and rename it Dan setting Micahs images in the house of God 27-31. Be careful of plans and lifestyle where you only have to take care of yourself and don’t have to trust God to take care of you. God told the Danites to take the territory He assigned to them and thet He would take care of them. The Danites had a better idea—they would find a territory that would take care of them. God’s plan required they go to war. And it was not easy. Watch out for easy battles made easier by our choosing not to have to trust God. The battles God has for you will probably be hard ones—because then you have to trust Him. Someone will always try to make those easier.