As in the days of the Judges, far too many Christians and Christian churches have set aside any controlling moral authority, so they do whatever seems right in their own eyes. In reality, this is nothing more than spiritual anarchy. Make sure you are not in that camp, and make sure you do what you can to encourage your church not to go there.
Going Deep // Focus: Judges 17:1-3
There was a man named Micah, who lived in the hill country of Ephraim. One day he said to his mother, “I heard you place a curse on the person who stole 1,100 pieces of silver from you. Well, I have the money. I was the one who took it.” His mother replied, “The Lord bless you for admitting it,” He returned the money to her, and she said, “I now dedicate these silver coins to the Lord. In honor of my son, I will have an image carved and an idol cast.” … In those days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
If we were to hold a vote on the weirdest stories in the Bible, this one would be in my top ten—maybe even in my top five. You read this story and it leaves you scratching your head. A man named Micah has admitted to his mother that he stole money from her, she praises the Lord for his “honesty” in returning the loot, then turns around and celebrates by commissioning a family idol and declaring that it is in honor of her wonderful son and of the Lord.
What…wait…what? She somehow twists stealing into honoring God by carving an image and casting an idol! What in the name of sanity is going on here? Simple explanation: this is spiritual anarchy, plain and simple. Anarchy is defined as “a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority.” That is exactly what Judges 17: 6 describes:
In those days Israel had no king, so everyone did whatever seemed right in their own eyes.
Israel had no controlling moral authority—or at least they chose not to follow a controlling moral authority, because they did have the law of God that should have been their constant guide. But over time, they moved God to the margins and devolved into spiritual anarchy, and as a result, a lot of really weird stuff happened in a nation that God had called to be his own holy people; stuff that the people justified as acceptable and pleasing to God.
Twisted, right? Yet is it all that different that what we see today among people who claim to follow God? When the rate of divorce is as high among so-called Christians as it is in the secular society, you have spiritual anarchy. When you have so-called Christians celebrating lifestyles and philosophies that are clearly opposed to what they are called to in God’s Word, you have spiritual anarchy. When you have so-called Christians whose way of living is clearly rooted in this present world and not in the kingdom to come—“believers” who are addicted to money, pleasure and power—there you find they have drifted into spiritual anarchy. Where you find spiritual communities who make their worship about what they prefer, who employ entertainment techniques to attract new members, who move the Holy Spirit to the edge of their services in order to employ more relevant styles, who focus more on a cool café in the lobby rather than the call to seek God at the altar, there you find an inexorable rush toward spiritual anarchy.
In our day, Christians have set aside any controlling moral authority, so they do whatever seems right in their own eyes.
So now that I have gotten that rant out of my system, answer me this: is this not the state of Christianity among far too many Christians and far too many churches in America today?
If you think so, then make sure you are not in that camp, and make sure you do what you can to encourage your church not to drift into spiritual anarchy.