Imaginary Religion of Judges 17
Judges 17 is a chapter in the Bible that almost never gets preached on, but it contains very valuable lessons for the church today. The history of the United States resembles the book of Judges in that we see ever-increasing immorality among its leaders as time goes on. Each judge is of a worse character than the last, culminating in Samson who passionately followed after his carnal desires rather than using his gifts to serve God.
Judges 17-21 are a kind of "appendix" to the book, and take place chronologically before chapter 1 to show the kind of awful depravity that existed in Israel even during the end of Joshua's life.
"God is surely abroad in the world, making men their own executioners, when there is no other way of checking the floods of vice. Yet He is forevermore a God ready to pardon. If this nation could but be turned back to Him, He would visit us again with His own salvation and uplifting." - G. Campbell Morgan (1912)
Below is some commentary on the first part of Judges 17:
1 And there was a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.
2 And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my son.
So this guy Micah has stolen 1100 shekels of silver from his mom (a LOT of money, and the same amount that Delilah took to betray Samson) but gives them back to her because he apparently fears her curse. She then blesses him using the name of God, YHWH/יהוה, even though he doesn't show genuine repentance or follow the law regarding theft as given in Leviticus 6.
3 And when he 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.
Even though she's using the name of the true God (not "Adonai" or "Elohim"), the first thing she wants to do with the returned silver is to make a graven image! What was the second commandment? Oh yeah...
4 Yet he 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.
5 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.
This is significant because even though they use the name of God, Micah and his mom created false gods, and idols to worship in open rejection of what God actually commanded. He even made one of his sons a priest which only the sons of Aaron were eligible for.
In essence, he used the name of God but created his own religion with his own ideas. We should be disgusted at this, yet this very thing is ongoing and increasing in the United States today!
People use the name of God, call themselves Christian, yet blatantly and openly reject the clear teachings of Scripture. We have people actually celebrating abortion, celebrating "gay marriage" and fornication, yet calling themselves Christian. We have people seeking to fellowship with false religions, and making up their own ideas about who God is, yet calling themselves Christians.
6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Sounds exactly like America today. There might have been many people going to church on Sundays in 2019, but very few who acknowledged God as their King.