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August 12, 2022 12:00 am
The nation of Israel is adrift spiritually and morally. No more judges will appear on the scene to fight or pray or preach. It is no surprise that this book closes with tragic tales of disobedience, superstition, immorality, theft, murder, and eventually Israelite fighting against Israelite. What is the root problem? The same problem we're experiencing today: everyone does what is right in his his own eyes.
What we are experiencing in the religious world back in America become the focus of race, religion should not be any surprise to is little doubt that our generation has discovered all the world the previous generation never even thought of as exist in the form of paranormal experiences channeling ministers vanity through individual speaking truth to go back thousands and thousands of years. What is happening.
People have rejected God and his word and they are now following superstitious mission of this group was dressed spiritually and morally got to the point where God sent no more judges to fight or pray or preach. Israel was marked by tragic tales of disobedience, superstition, immorality, theft and murder. Eventually they were fighting with each other was the root problem the same problem were experiencing today. Everyone does what's right in his own eyes. This lesson is called homemade gods are studied through the book of the Bible has taken us to the book of Judges and in particular now as we come to the close of the book, you will discover with me that it is coming to a very tragic close.
The nation is adrift, spiritually and morally.
There are no more judges from this point on everything anywhere there is no call for help. There than any nation Ballinger need for God. There is now a straight course set for apostasy and idolatry. You will read the refrain several times and the remaining five chapters of the book of Judges that said, in those days there was no king in Israel. No civil authority, and every man that was right in his own eyes. No spiritual authority back popular ballad in our culture. A few years ago would have been a hit in Israel as it rings, how can it be wrong when it feels so right: writer of Judges. I believe price to do here in the last few chapters is hold a mirror in front of Israel's base and say Israel and this nation today.
Take a good hard look at what happens when you reject the authority of God and you do whatever is right in your own eyes, take a look at what will happen merely two things. First of all, there will be the creation of false religions.
Second of all, there will be the distraction of moral absolutes were going to study the first issue that is the creation of false gods and a false religion. I'm going to attempt to parallel what happened then with what's happening in our nation today. Our story opens in Judges chapter 17. Anxiety continues through the end of chapter 18. It's a story that reveals the development of a nation that rejects the authority of God and continues in and in ever-increasing ways to create their own religious I'm going to pull out from this text for characteristics that exist today in the false religions that we have in our nation as well. Will let them major points in our discussion characteristic number one is this a false religion is simulated by personal convenience. Judges chapter 17 verse one now there was a man of the hill country of Ephraim's name was Micah and he said to his mother. The 1100 pieces of silver, which were taken from you about what you ordered a curse in my hearing to hold the silver is with me. I took it and his mother said, blessed be my son by the Lord, you get the picture here is a son, a grown son is stolen from his mother for some reason there was laying around on the dresser for whatever over a thousand pieces of silver, and she has adopted pagan custom of honoring a curse on those that she would like to be caught or found out or her that she has a good idea is her son because she offers the curse in his hearing will works. Look at verse three. He then returned the 1100 pieces of silver to his mother and his mother says this carefully. I totally on that as I wholly dedicate this over my hand to the Lord so far for my son to make a graven image, and a molten image of a Jewish mother here is steeped in idolatry and it's interesting what she does next verse four. So when he returned to Silverton with mother's mother to 200 pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith who made him into a graven image. She's not even doing what she said she would know first of all, she praises God and her son for the and then she says she will give to God all of it and then instead of giving it to God. She takes it and she makes poked out of it and she doesn't even give all of God. She shortchanged them actually is 200 of the 1100 feet serious trouble. Under this roof. Even this false religion to shortchange why because this mother represents to the reader and by the writer.
The mood of Israel as it does whatever it wants to do, even if it means lying, the Israelites are bound by idolatry and they are making their false gods. Why is idolatry so popular because you can make whatever diet you want and you can give it only what you want to give it if you lied when he can hear you anyhow. It will matter. Why bother with trips to Shiloh.
Why bother with the expense of coming up with unblemished animals to sacrifice. It's all costly. It's all finally homemade guns on the same that'll be a lot more convenient. By the way. False religion is as popular today as it was then when talkshow host recently had these true things to say this to Medicaid from the kind of source will tell you it is. But he said these things about religion in America. We review some of what he said there are some people who think religion is like a faucet to be turned on only when needed in our day. The most popular religion is Confucianism that was interesting. Most people have some sort of religion, he says, at least they know what church they're staying away from and finally says many people use their religion as they do of us rewrite it only going there way is verse five and the man Micah had a shrine and he made an even that was just for the high priest, you remember and household idols. Any consecrated one of his son. This is really a charade that he might become his priest documented here comes the important statement. This is what God thinks about her six in those days there was no king in Israel.
Every man did that which was right in his own eyes. Why bother with Shiloh. Why bother with all that we can make our own convenience store type of religion we can go whenever we want.
We can create anyway. We want it conviction that way we can have religion are what David Coley conducted the very first survey to assess the virtual desires or beliefs of our country years ago Glamour magazine followed up a few years later with their own survey which 25,000 people received bonded you read the results under close scrutiny.
All three surveys revealed. Basically these things that people choose to believe only what appeals to them by the way, 90% of these people believe in God. They ignore teachings and ran contrary to their personal goals for their fellow knees their religious commitments were and I quote the service a convenient and comfortable form of Christianity the wonder that Howard Hendricks one-time remarketing class. He said the Christian church in America is 500 miles long and 1 inch deep. Secondly, a false religion characteristic number two is concealed. This is where it gets tricky by religious appearances. No new characters added to the plot. Look at verse seven that there was a young man from Bethlehem in Judah of the family of Judah, who was a Levite and he was staying there. We learn later this young man's name was Jonathan and the man supported from the city from Bethlehem in Judah to stay wherever he might find a place and as he made his journey he came to the hill country of Ephraim, the house of Mike and I your spine.
Micah has a son is playacting priest. It is probably working very well on that ensure the even for verse nine and Micah said to him, where do you come from, and he said to him, I am a Levite from Bethlehem in Judah. I'm going to stay wherever I might find a convenient pulpit for place to see the wheels are turning in Micah's mind.
He says in verse 10 will dwell with me and be a father and a priest. To me this is great Micah.
Thank you. Good against verse 10.
The last part be a priest to me in this voting for you. I'll give you 10 pieces of silver year. My mother probably provide that a suit of clothes, and your maintenance of the Levi goes in and probably says what a blessing. I have a regular paycheck.
I've new suit and I have all-expenses-paid is wonderful. Make no mistake here, God is smiling that priest has no right to wander from the central sanctuary has no right to set up an individual practice. He has no right to serve an individual, family, or person. This system is totally contrary to God's word but it has all the appearances of religiosity. We got a real priest here.
He says the right words. We got any. We have a short day, and maybe even at times of services, but can be further from the truth. God is not pleased with this kind of thing in America we have the form of religious appearance without the reality of God's authority.
How many thousands of parents want their babies percent who could care less as to whether or not God has anything to do with the way they raise. How many thousands of couples want to church wedding with all the trimmings and a smiling officiating minister standing there and in announcing God's blessing, but who have no desire to lead God's authority role in their relationship.
You know somebody would want to minister to funeral, especially there's we want something religious at the hour of death, but we have no desire or concern for God to rule during the hours of life. One might say the same thing that happens here. They have rewritten God to fit them and they have all of the religious appearances necessary.
God really is in part a picture with the classic full religious system. Verse 13 then Micah says now I know that the Lord will prosper me, seeing I have a Levite as a priest you notice not-so-subtle motivation and having the priest so God can make me across this man get EBC now God will do what I like. Don't overlook. Micah said he made his own God's made his own shrine. He employed his own priest. He is considering himself under God's blessing, but when you strip away all of the appearances of religion is under God's judgment characteristic number three, a false religion is motivated by disobedience. Chapter 18 broadens the list of characters in this drama and includes now the pain I try look at chapter 18 verse one in those days there was no king in Israel and in those days the tribe of the day night were seeking an inheritance for themselves to live in for till that day and inheritance is not a lot of them as possession among the tribes of Israel to the sons of Dan sent from their family.
Five men out of their whole number value and from door and I still spy out the land as a surgeon and they came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah and the lodge there no watch this carefully. It appears on the surface. The Dan is looking to possess this inheritance, but I believe that this is written from their point of view because we learn from Judges chapter 1 that they have already worked use their inheritance. Judges chapter 1 tells us that because of unbelief in God's power.
They ran from the Amorites and from chapter 1 until now.
They reappear here they are wondering why because they are refusing the authority of God, thank you member in chapter 5 when Deborah sings that long song and she talks about the tribes who wouldn't help and she's she laments.
Where was Dan all they were out in the shifts was that me, it means that while the Israelites were fighting the enemy. Dan is huddled on board some shift away. They'll just think Israel and with that we find them here.
The wondering looking for an easy prey. Basically a handout and they're just about to find the perfect victim. Look at chapter 18 verse three when they were near the house of Micah. They recognize the voice of the young men or the accident of the young man the Levite and they turned aside there and said to him, who brought you here and what are you doing in this place and what you have here and he said to them, thus and so is Micah done to me and he's hired me live become his priest. They said to him, they know better inquire of God, please, that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be prosperous they already know from God's revelation that they are in said what is this priest say verse six perfect clergymen for the hour.
Go in peace your way in which you are going. Has the Lord's approval of course this priest say that is the hireling posting whatever his hearers want to hear. Trouble is, they do prosper and they win the battle and gets his credibility goes up the stake priest but had this priest been genuine, he would've said the day night scurrying to Shiloh to offer sacrifices for theirs and the rebellion set up on his advice. They will massacre later in the chapter peaceful people and they will set up their idols and it will have Jonathan and his sons continuing the charade of religiosity and that religion ladies and gentlemen is built upon the foundation of a people who had disobeyed and continued to disobey the authority of God. Everybody's doing what is right in their own eyes. The religious crowd. Sometimes they lead the way. One final characteristic of false religion then and now is this number four, a false religious system is attracted to superstition.
This is where I really want to camp whenever God's authority is set aside 11. We have to believe in something we have to tell someone something even the atheist has placed as his God, is reason and you come up with the conclusion that there is no God that this is a take as much faith as those of us to believe that there is a God, but a denial of God's authority in this book opens the door to unbelievable confusion.
That's exactly what we are experiencing in the religious world in our nation today.
The fact that Americans become the new focus for Eastern religions should not be any surprise to us. There's little doubt that our generation has discovered all other world previous generations never even thought of as existing. It exists in the form of paranormal experiences miracles out of body experiences channeling that is through spirit entity through individual speaking truth to go back thousands and thousands of years. What is happening. People have rejected God and his word and they are now following superstitious New Age Eastern and was the police. Dr. Andrew Greeley of the University of Chicago. Not too long ago show the results of the survey concluded the 67% of Americans believe in a supernatural world, 29% believe in reincarnation. 42% believe that they been in contact with someone has already died. A Gallup poll released 12 years ago showed even then that more than 10 million Americans were involved in some tenant some facet of Eastern mysticism we call the New Age movement here in America. Perhaps the most popular tenant is called yoga yoga in the Hindu language means yoke and it is their intention to yoke with the Hindu deities, but of course they repackage it for the confused American mind and so they say this will relieve stress. This will increase your productivity of the job. In fact millions of dollars have been spent by Fortune 500 companies to bring in the gurus and the teachers to teach transcendental meditation. The VI is the belief in the mind the power to name it and the claimant to make it yours.
My knowing is coming to the church as well. Companies is listed on annoying AT&T, Coca-Cola, General Electric, RCA, Sears, Procter & Gamble, Boeing, General Dynamics, Allstate, Hewlett-Packard, IBM listen in the last year I've had two people in this congregation company professionals and say we've been subjected to New Age seminars. We really didn't have a choice. One of them is a lady who is an RN registered nurse. They brought in another RN a teacher author who came in to teach them therapeutic touch another tenant of New Age is which is nothing more than Eastern mysticism. She begins by making a disclaimer that this is not against Christianity having Christians are here to yes she went on to say, this is not against what you believe in, and she went on to talk about how you have the power to heal because you are a God or God like that he has the power to heal you of authority. Stephen took a chair as she pulled a lady of RN and drawer right to the front of the room and she said that nurse that she got behind her.
She will held out her hands and she closed her eyes and she taught them through this own experience of of New Age is and she said no in this nurses body. I feel emanating from the right elbow something cold. I would headed for the right exit. There will come a day ladies and gentlemen when you cannot be a nurse what you buy into that because it's being taught there will come a day when you may lose your job because you refuse to attend a seminar that teaches New Age is a mini say I cannot do that, that's teaching another religion. I cannot part of it today.
Supposedly 60 million Americans have bought in varying degrees the same lie that the nightspot Micah bought Jonathan but that is you can have fulfillment and direction spiritually, not by denying or necessarily ignoring God, but simply rewriting who God is and rewriting what this says about the spiritual world around you click the judge is 18 verse 18 and when these the day night lawyers when in the Micah's house and took the graven image, the household idols in the molten image, the priest said to them, what are you doing first 19 they said to him, be silent, put your hand over your mouth and come with us and we lost a father increase. Is it better for you to be a priest to the house of one man, or to be the priest to a tribe and family has been a here's a real promotion you think this doesn't turn it down a little from 10 shekels, probably 51st 2010. The priest heart is glad and he took the household idols in the graven image, and when among the people.
Idols are not as priest as a theater, let me help you carry the mic is not endlessly first 30 in the sons of Dan set up for themselves. The graven image and Jonathan misses the priest, the son of Gershon, the son of Manasseh were from O'Shea. He and his sons were priests to the tribe of the deicing to the data Video and if you look it up in your cross-reference when you get home you'll understand the news in the Hebrew noon was added by a scribe who hoped seal the identity of this man's grandfather O'Shea Moses far they have gone they center for themselves. Micah's graven image. Verse 31, which he made all the time that the house of God was that she, Kyla, what you think the editor put that in the writers that last phrase reemphasizes that they are rejecting the true worship. It's over.
There is Shiloh. That's what God has ordained us with the tabernacle is they believe that they can receive direction from another source would be a surprise for you to know that the New York telephone system handles a million calls a month to their dial horoscope for those lines. Million month one out of every three newspaper readers consult the daily horoscope was the problem. The problem is that people have rejected the true source of guidance through God and through his written revelation, his word and they've got to get it somewhere. So they go to astrology.
David Berger Christian speaker evangelist writes these words he says in 1956 I purchased a set of the American encyclopedia Americana that I recently referred to the section on astrology, discipline, and about eight years ago. The section on astrology traced its origin and it concludes with these words.
Quote astrology still flourishes. However, in Asia and Africa and is a means of livelihood for many charlatans who prey upon the ignorant class that I got edited out when it got revised Times columnist wrote these words, and he had it right. The Christian who believes in divine providence guns and authority is bound to reject the idea that the motions of this bars and the planets govern human affairs. How is it that an unbeliever can get its so clearly and people who say they believe in God.
Mrs. another entire subject is visualization. We call it imaging that probably more than any other script into the New Testament.
It is deceiving so many people that is the belief that if you can see it in your mind it will be yours.
Perhaps your salesman and you are pumped up with this unique see this goal. You need to or imagine this result and it will be ours.
That my friends is New Age is probably to get people on TV and churches to say the same thing. If you can see it and you can name it and you can claim that we are probably imaging in Edinburg, Texas teachers until the uproar started because of it for forcing kindergartners and EK curriculum based on the €4000 belief that the body has meridians that is close were channels of energy they were teaching his kindergartners how to lay down and visualize the energy flowing to their bodies and them to tap into. By imaging in Los Angeles.Dr. Beverly Galeon developed a holistic curriculum that were holistic ought to be a catch term if you see that kind of thing is get your trek she's on a run that required first-graders to lie motionless and visualize their bodies blaze to talk them through imaging processes how to tap into that light and recognize they are part of the universal conscious going on.
People rejected the authority of God and his word and it is leading and has led to spiritual confusion.
People no longer deny the spirit world. They just don't understand the reality of it: work thing here that Shirley McClain, who I'm sure you're familiar with. She wrote the book has probably been one of the popular proponents of new ages and which is Hinduism.
She was on television promoting the New Age movement, and she was encouraging her are her hearers to get involved in transcendental meditation article here Chandler organic crystal and put on your rearview mirrors like that Crystal supposedly have an energy source. And then she turned to her audience.
Near the end of it and she said listen why do you have the answer that is absolutely everything to lose.
When you follow make God's reply to ways. The problem, the judges and the problem here in this nation as well number one in the soda challenge all of us. Those who use virtual words may not necessarily lead to ritual ways goes for me to go to be like though the women for Paul priest 11 Maria he preached it is a great possibly priest and they went back to the Bible to see those things were true. Checking out the possible great to rejection of God's counsel ultimately results in man's confusion. You want to know how to live in this book on how to govern the affairs of your life.
You want to know God. Illinois really like enough problem to discover his design for your life is here in this there is safe. The insecurity and counsel and with live here. Jesus Christ said I am the way troops life when I come to the father you want to know God come by me and when you follow Jesus Christ was the truth. What you have to gain critical reminder today in the Bible there is safety and security, and counsel and wisdom.
There is the one and only God revealed to us. You have to throw away your homemade gods if you want to know the true God.
Stephen called this lesson.
Homemade gods we have one more lesson to go in this vintage wisdom series from judges and will bring you that next time think about how your life could be impacted if you were to set aside one year to study God's word experience authentic community growing discipleship take a trip and do some study and Israel and earn your Masters degree in theological studies all in one year. While the school that Stephen leads offers a special program called shepherds Institute and you can experience all that I just described. Men and women join us right out of college and before entering into their career they want to spend a year in God's word and earn their master's degree and then enter the workforce better equipped to serve God in their church. We had retired people come and study with us in order to be better equipped to serve God for the remainder of their lives. Stephen and the world-class faculty are eager to invest in.
Learn more by clicking the link at the bottom of our home wisdom online.org do that today. Then join us next time. For more wisdom from the heart