“And when (Micah) had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, ‘I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the Lord from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image; now therefore I will restore it unto thee.’ Yet (Micah) restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image; and they were in the house of Micah. And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest. In those days t here was no king in Israel, but every man (and woman) did that which was right in his (her) own eyes.”
Judges 17: 3-6
King James Version
“The Sanctified Home”
“No sweat, no sanctification.”
What does it mean to me to live a sanctified life?
Have I made the choice to daily walk with God?
“By one act of consecration of our total selves to God, we can make every subsequent act express that consecration.”
Every Easter, I try to take time to watch at least one picture that depicts the life of Jesus on film. There’s something about the “visualization” of the events surrounding the cross that helps me absorb the reality of the Biblical record of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
This year, late Sunday evening, Jim and I watched the King of Kings, a silent movie made in 1927 and directed by the renowned film master, Cecil B. DeMille, who felt this was his greatest masterpiece. And I’ll have to agree.
This epochal moment in history, as captured in the starkness of black and white film, along with texts of Scripture set against the backdrop of dramatic music was one of the most strikingly moving attempts I’ve ever seen which portrays the battle between good and evil on Calvary.
In this picture, there is one dramatic moment which I have never seen revealed or discussed before. The film shot is of three crosses and it is obvious from the subtitles that a discussion is taking place between the two thieves. During this exchange, the camera pulls back and the viewer sees Mary, Jesus’ mother, clinging to Jesus’ cross in obvious pain. As she hangs on to the wooden beam, another frantic woman runs into the scene. She grabs Mary and points at the cross holding her son who has just said, “If thou be Christ, save Thyself and us” (Luke 23: 37).
This mother, weeping uncontrollably, desperately looks to Mary for solace. Two sons. Two different attitudes. The good and the bad. The consecrated and the profane. The pure and the defiled. The sanctified and the desecrated. It was an austere contrast. A bleak and barren difference between a life of holiness and a life of sinfulness.
And I ask you, isn’t this the conflict you and I face each day of our lives? Isn’t this the battle you and I wage on a moment by moment basis. A clash between good and evil, between what is consecrated in heaven and what is defiled on earth.
This is what we find at the core of the story of Micah and his mother in Judges 17.
The short version of this story is that a son stole money from his mother. However, his mom had “cursed” this silver after it was stolen. At that time, a curse upon something was taken very seriously, and so afraid something evil might befall him, the son revealed his thievery and mom, trying to undo her curse, tells her boy that she had reserved this money to be used to make an idol or molten image, so this is exactly what was done. An “evil” act was covered up by a supposed “good” act for Micah placed the image in his house and then “consecrated” one of his sons to be his own personal “house priest.”
Let’s not forget – this act was in direct defiance to God’s instruction to His children in Exodus 20: 3-6 (K.J.V.), “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: For I the Lord thy God am a jealous (or as the Hebrew so eloquently describes, “I am a God who wants you exclusively for Myself) God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.”
Attempting to undo an act of disobedience with another act of disobedience didn’t make things right. And we see in this story of Micah a direct link from mother to son, choosing to do what was right in their own eyes rather than following God’s instruction. They took the forbidden, the tawdry, the graven image and tried to polish it up and consecrate it to God. After this display of “do it yourself” holiness, they assumed all was fine. Who knows, you and I might have thought everything was “peachy keen” if it weren’t for Judges 17: 6, which says again that, “Everybody was doing what they thought was right in his (her) own eyes.”
I believe God ended the book of Judges with stories of the headstrong and wayward behavior of His very own children in order to try to make an attempt to get our “undivided” attention. From this Biblical example, we see God’s longing for us to have consecrated, sanctified family lives.
What a lesson we need to take away from this mother who let her idolatry compromise the lives of her children and grandchildren. In her case it was a molten image of some sort. But for each of us it can be something different. Not long ago I had someone say to me, “I’ve given my kids all the money they could ever need, and where has it gotten them?” The idol of things and possessions has dimmed the view of many to the glory of heaven. Earthly pleasure beckons and the idol says, “Come to me. I can satisfy.”
However, “money and possessions” aren’t the only way our families can be desecrated.
I’ll never forget a number of years ago when my spiritual focus was woefully lacking. I tried to faithfully spend time with my nieces only to find myself too tired to give them the encouragement and love they needed at a tough time in their family home-life. One day, I called my niece Aimee, while I was on a business trip and gleefully told her, “I got a really cool present for you. I’ll drop it off when I get back home.” This was her response, “Effie, I’d rather have time with you than any gift you could give me.” My “ambition idol” loomed so large before my own eyes it blinded me to the needs that were going unmet in the lives of those I claimed to care about.
As we look at Micah and his mom, it would do us well to remember these weren’t the ungodly who were bowing down to idols in their homes – these were God’s children who had so allowed the defiled to invade their lives that the walls of their homes weren’t strong enough or thick enough to defend against the attacks of the vile.
Recently, I read some statistics from a study on marriage and divorce and much to my surprise, the data reflected a rate of divorce as high or even higher among Christians than those who identified themselves as “unbelievers.” What this tells me is that before I point out the “idols” in others’ homes, I need to stop bowing down to them within the walls of my own dwelling.
There’s one other piece of instructional information contained in the story of Micah and his mother. The name “Micah” in Hebrew is “Mi Kay ehu.” The full form of this name means, “who is like God (Yahweh). However, the shortened form of the name Micah, used in this narrative, (Mi Kah) means merely, “who is like.” It is as though this story places before us the eternal question, “Who are you going to be like?” Are you going to take the short-cut, the shortened version and be like anything that is laid before you or are you going to daily choose to live a wholly sanctified life, a life that is like Yahweh? A Godly life!
“Sanctification is a gracious work of God, whereby n a supernatural way, (God) gradually divests from sin the inclinations and dispositions of (our) regenerate (hearts) and clothes (us) with holiness.”
"Batter my heart, three personed God; for, You
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, overthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurped town, to another due,
Labor to admit You, but oh, to no end,
Reasons Your vicerory in me, me should defend.
But is captive, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love You, and would be loved fain.
But am betrothed unto Your enemy;
Divorce me, untie, or break the knot again.
Take me to You, imprison me, for I
Except You enthrall me, never shall be free,
Not ever chaste, except You ravish me.”
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