Day 22

Micah’s Priest

from the Judges reading plan

Judges 17:1-13, Leviticus 26:1, Hosea 11:1-12, James 3:9-12

BY Andrea Lucado

Scripture Reading: Judges 17:1-13, Leviticus 26:1, Hosea 11:1-12, James 3:9-12

Sometimes idolatry is easy to identify. For instance, when I find myself wanting to be more like my favorite Instagram celebrity than Jesus, I know I am idolizing the Instagram celebrity. Or, when I start prioritizing my body image over my spiritual health and well-being, I know I am idolizing how I look. But idolatry can also be stealthy, especially when it is disguised as piety. This is certainly the case for Micah, his shrines, and his priests.

Micah’s story is a slow progression down a dangerous path. It begins with an offering to the Lord—the silver he had stolen from his mother. However, part of the offering is melted down and formed into an idol, something strictly forbidden by Hebrew law (Leviticus 26:1). This idol is then joined by other idols and set up as a shrine in Micah’s household. Micah even makes an ephod, which was a garment worn only by priests, and installs one of his sons as a priest to oversee the shrine.

Slowly but surely, we see what Micah is doing: he is turning his home into a tabernacle. The transformation is complete when a young Levite shows up at his door. “Stay with me,” invites Micah, “and be my father and priest” (Judges 17:10). And the Levite stays, legitimizing Micah’s efforts. Then Micah says, “Now I know that the Lord will be good to me, because a Levite has become my priest” (v.13).

The elements are there—a priest from the appropriate tribe, the priestly garments, an offering of silver to the Lord—but Micah’s heart exposes his transactional relationship with God, and these motives reveal his idolatry: Now I know the Lord will be good to me.

Idolatry in the name of the Lord is often the hardest to spot and the most destructive. I can easily idolize my religion over my Savior. I can lose trust in the promise of Christ and begin trusting in my church attendance or how often I volunteer or read Scripture. These rituals in and of themselves are good, but they are meant as an avenue to commune with God, not to be my own god. What often begins as an attempt to be near God can put distance between my heart and His.  

Micah did not need to turn his home into a tabernacle and his family into priests, because God was already dwelling among the Israelites. In the same way, I don’t have to idolize my religion in an attempt to be nearer to God because He has already come near to me through the person of Jesus Christ, and He remains with me by the Holy Spirit.  

Micah’s story proves that the line is fine between being active participants in our religion and idolizing it. What starts as piety can quickly slip into idolatry if we’re not careful. And in our attempt to be closer to God, we actually end up turning away from true and intimate relationship with Him.

May I heed the warning in Micah’s story and honestly examine my heart: Do I worship my religion, or do I worship the Lord, my God?


Andrea Lucado is a freelance writer, Texas native, and the author of the memoir English Lessons: The Crooked Path of Growing Toward Faith. When she is not conducting interviews or writing stories, you can find Andrea laughing with friends at a coffee shop or creating yet another nearly edible baking creation in her kitchen. One of these days she’ll get the recipe right.

Post Comments (78)

78 thoughts on "Micah’s Priest"

  1. Lynn Johnson says:

    Idols can be so very subtle…and even when we think we are doing the right things. Examine my heart God, show me what is crowding my relationship with You! ❤️

  2. Bessie says:

    It has literally taken me 60 years to understand that my relationship with Christ isn’t about ‘doing’, but ‘being’. God has been gently, but consistently guiding me along this path.

    A year or so ago, someone here told me that I should sit down and have a cup of tea with the Holy Spirit. (I can’t remember who said that, but thank you!!!). I now do that very thing. I’m a coffee drinker, but I sit down and literally invite the Holy Spirit to sit with me awhile. We sometimes talk and sometimes just sit here. There are times I feel His presence and sometimes I don’t. I don’t trust those feelings, but rely on my faith that He is here with me.

    Having a relationship with God is freeing to me. It isn’t a set of rules and a check list to accomplish. It is a relationship. Sometimes I wander and get distracted, but He always guides me back with open arms. I used to feel like I was such a disappointment to Him when I did that, but I have realized that He knows I’m not perfect and still loves me and wants me.

    1. SarahJoy says:

      I love this!

    2. Ashley Thornton says:

      I sometimes feel a disconnect and I really think I need this alone time as well. Such a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing.

    3. GramsieSue says:

      Thank you for sharing this. I love It! ❤️

    4. Amy says:

      Oh my, this blessed me this morning as much as the teaching on Judges 17!

    5. Ann Duncan says:

      YES!! Thank you so much for sharing this! For me, it’s a daily process of not wandering and instead surrendering to what it is that God is up to, trusting Him and not following anxiety down the treacherous path it takes. Thank you Bessie! This was so good!

    6. Alexis says:

      Thank you so much for this Bessie!

    7. PamC says:

      Thank you Bessie.

    8. Juanita T says:

      Me too! Thank you Bessie for sharing

    9. Susan Kennedy says:

      Love this!

    10. Nolvia B says:

      Thank you for sharing this with us. It has resonated with us. ❤️

    11. Lindsey Bailey says:

      Thank you for sharing this wisdom.

    12. Nancy says:

      I’m behind in my reading and don’t usually scroll this far into the comments. This touched my heart. Thank you so much!

  3. Kelly Chataine says:

    Reflecting on the question posed by Andrea Lucado ~ “Do I worship my religion, or do I worship the Lord, my God?” I don’t think so, but I will reflect on the question much longer.
    The James passages are also worthy of reflection. God laid on my heart to think about my thoughts and words. The first day back to school found me failing over and over again. Every day since I have fought diligently against evil thoughts and words that don’t honor God. It will be a focus of mine from now on.
    Also, fighting discouragement. My husband seems to be doing worse. His speech is slurred at times, his voice weak, he is stumbling and near falling much more frequently. As we were leaving church, a friend called out to me, I stopped, looked at my friend, and we started a conversation. Dennis kept moving and then began to fall. I was always a half an arm’s length away and couldn’t reach him. He sort of crashed into a brick pillar which kept him from going to the ground. I cried out, my heart pounded, and I was afraid. He was fine and then I sobbed. I have been seeking God’s help concerning my contentment and God has helped me! Yesterday’s near fall, watching it unfold right in front of me, has had a profound effect on me. Is this my life? Not able to go too many places. Staying close to home. Diligently positioning myself right behind him. Yearning to quit work but out of obedience continuing to work. Sitting in silence. Not being touched. Coming home from school and praying that I won’t find him face down in the garage. Heart aching for what we once had and wondering if any of it will be again. We see the neurosurgeon in two weeks. Please pray. Thank you, dear sisters.

    1. Bessie says:

      Oh, Dear Kelly, I do often pray for you. I’m sad to hear that Dennis is not doing well. I will pray that the neurosurgeon is able to help. God be with you and may you feel our loving arms around you as well.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Bessie

    2. Churchmouse says:

      Certainly am praying for you and your husband. Your lives have been turned upside down. So many dreams for the future now being reconsidered, reevaluated. And men do not like to feel helpless, out of control, any more than we women do. I can’t imagine the emotional struggle your husband is feeling as well as the physical issues. My heart breaks for both of you as you navigate this challenge. I’m praying for strength for you both. I’m praying for many to come alongside you to provide respite. And I’m praying that the doctors have answers for the latest decline in his recovery. I’m praying for even small daily joys to come your way to combat discouragement. Please continue to keep posting so that specific prayers can be offered on your behalf.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Pray that it will be clear on whether he needs a shunt or not. We visit the neurosurgeon in two weeks. Thank you, Churchmouse!

        1. Churchmouse says:

          I’m on it!

    3. charlie woodruff says:

      Praying for you and your husband.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Charlie!

    4. Caroline says:

      Praying for you, Kelly. Check out the book “Hope Heals” by Jay and Katherine Wolf. Written by a couple in similar circumstances who echoed your sentiments. I pray that reading their story encourages you in yours.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Caroline! I am going to check into “Hope Heals” this evening.

    5. Pam says:

      Lifting you and your husband up in prayer.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you!

    6. Brittany Ringo says:

      Praying for you and your family Kelly…

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Brittany!

    7. GramsieSue says:

      Oh Kelly thank you for sharing your heart. My heart aches with yours. I don’t have answers for you but I have lots of prayers. Let God carry you through this and lean on him minute by minute. Anything I say seems trite….but take comfort in knowing your sisters here are praying for you and we love you. ❤️

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Gramsie Sue!

    8. Mamajonk says:

      I am so sorry to hear your husband isn’t doing as well as he was. Praying for you both, that you will know and feel the love and comfort from our Savior and this community of sisters.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Mamajonk!

    9. Rachel says:

      Oh, Kelly, I’m so sorry. Praying for complete restoration and for your heart in the waiting. Thank you for sharing these burdens with us.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Rachel!

    10. Hilary says:

      Kelly, I’m stopping to pray for you and Dennis now!!

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Oh, thank you, Hilary!

    11. Amy says:

      Praying for you dear sister! It is such a blessing to be part of the family of God that prays for one another. The world does not understand our connection. Miles, age, cultures….none of that separates. Jesus unites us.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Yes, so true and thank you!

    12. DebRN says:

      Kelly, I am praying for you too. Ladies, we have developed a habit of Bible Study because this is our manna from Heaven!! God Himself has sent us a message and we do not want to live without it.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        True, DebRN!

    13. Krystle says:

      Praying for healing, encouragement, and strength! ❤️

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Krystle!

    14. Carol M says:

      Praying, Kelly…your honest, gut-level sharing, also reminds me to pray for a friend whose husband has Parkinson’s…I’ll lift you together to the throne!!

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Carol!

    15. Kay says:

      Dear Kelly,
      I am adding my prayer to those of the others. May you feel comfort and assurance during this difficult time. May You feel strength from the Lord’s arms wrapped tightly around you, and may you receive the wisdom you need to guide you on this journey.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Kay!

    16. Becky Smith says: I found this when looking up Ps 121 to copy and paste here as it was the scripture that came to my mind as I prayed for you, Kelly. I pray it will encourage your heart as it did mine to remember God’s faithful love.
      May the Lord bless and keep you, your husband, and your kiddos.

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        I have the article loaded and I am about to read it. Thank you, Becky!

    17. Brittany Blazier says:

      Praying now! Philippians 4:6-8

      1. Kelly Chataine says:

        Thank you, Brittany! Excellent reminder to bring my prayers to God with thanksgiving and prayer, to not be anxious (working on it), and asking God for the wonderful, special peace that only He can bring! Thank you.

    18. Tricia Cavanaugh says:

      Praying for your husband and you through this time Kelly.

    19. Constance says:

      Kelly, my heart was so touched with the path on which you travel. I pray that God will give you a peace that passes all understanding. I often think when I get to heaven and can speak to The Father, I will ask him some of my why’s. How dear and true is the song, “We’ll Understand it All By and By”.

    20. Natasha Reyes says:

      I’m praying for you both, Kelly.

  4. Cathy Tubby says:

    I have been thinking through this issue of late and so this devotional was very timely. My devotional times were feeling dry. I was going through the motions but didn’t feel like I was getting much out of them. Then one day, I felt as though God asked me why I was doing them. Why do I sit down to my quiet time? I felt like during that time it had become out of ha it that I did it. Or even that I felt I had to so that God would be with me in my day. Originally, it had started out that I wanted to spend that quiet with God, to soak up those moments in quiet relationship with him, learning, growing, praising. It had become something that I did out of obligation or habit, an attempt to manipulate and in the process lost its meaning. I thank God for asking me that question that day so that I can get back to spending quality quiet time with Him. This is a great reminder and perhaps another little nudge to keep the lesson fresh in mind. So thankful.

    1. Pam says:

      Cathy, I love your honest comment. I too have my morning routine. Some may call it a habit. Without my time with Jesus and my coffee my day does not feel complete or orderly. I too have seasons of dry spells and I feel alone and lost. I often call on my strong prayer warriors when I cannot pray. Other seasons are dry and God is leading me through until I have the ahhhh moment. I too am thankful.

    2. GramsieSue says:

      Yes, sometimes I feel as if I just sit down in the mornings more out of habit or to check my list of things to do. But my time with God is so much more! Nice to know I’m not the only one who struggles here.

      1. Becky Smith says:

        I think rather than habit it is a Christian discipline. Keeping us in fellowship with our God, abiding with Christ, and being filled with the Holy Spirit which we are commanded to do by being transformed by the renewing of our minds through the Word of God. Romans 12. Part of being a living sacrifice – our spiritual act of worship.
        I’ve also had the thought many times that I don’t want it to be out of habit. But as I read comments it occurred to me that giving it the right term changes our whole perspective. Not a habit like brushing your teeth to be healthy physically but a ‘Christian discipine’ to keep me spiritually healthy.
        Grateful for your fellowship here that spurs me on.

    3. Sarah W. says:

      Cathy, I’ve felt, and still feel, the same way. My quiet time with God was lacking intimacy and had turned into something to check off my to-do list. I’m struggling because I do need accountability, but also crave the intimacy of real time with God. Praying for all of us struggling with this. I tried posting this through the app, but it said ID null, or something like that?

  5. Churchmouse says:

    Micah chose a counterfeit god over the one true God. Idols are always less than and never enough. How foolish to feed the insatiable appetite of an idol. God promises an abundant life through a relationship with Him. It is a relationship not maintained through striving but through resting and abiding in Him. Religion is so often about doing when what God desires is indwelling. Relationship with Him satisfies in a way religion cannot.

    1. Mamajonk says:

      Thinking of you and praying for you this morning.

      1. Churchmouse says:

        Thank you so much

  6. Carol Pierce says:

    God is much bigger than any religious box, idolatry, I might place him into. May I worship him in Spirit & in Truth.

    1. Jessica McCreary says:

      Carol this is well stated!!

  7. Gena Wiltshire says:

    Very timely and much need words today! Thank you!

  8. Eliza Bulz says:

    Thank you for these words. Idols are what we gravitate to and only turning our focus to the One True God can complete and satisfy our hearts and minds

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