Barna also discovered that the purpose of faith for most Americans is “not so much to discover truth or to relate to a loving, praiseworthy deity as it is to become happy, successful, comfortable and secure.” He continues that “f” These dynamics are not unique to us. In the time of the judges, similar dynamics played out.
Micah's mother uttered a curse after he took 1100 pieces of silver from her. When she learned her son took the money, she said, "Blessed be my son by the Lord." She dedicated the silver to the Lord for her son to make a graven and molten image (Judges 17:1-3).
From 200 pieces, she had a silversmith make a graven and molten image. Micah made a house of gods, ephod and household idols, while dedicating one of his sons to become his priest. There was no king in Israel and every man did what was right in his own eyes (Judges 17:4-6).
When a Levite tried to find a place to stay, Micah offered housing, position as father and personal priest, salary, clothes and maintenance. The young man (priest) became to him like one of his sons. Micah said, "Now I know Lord will prosper me seeing I have Levite as a priest" (Judges 17:7-13).
Let's consider the implications of this passage to American Christianity found in the church today. People often use a form of religion to make them feel better. Self-made religion promotes a false sense of prosperity based on what is seen (temporal) rather than unseen (eternal).
Church leaders often allow the means of ministry like buildings and sound systems become idols to please and entertain their congregation rather than doing God's will. Leaders are tempted to base decisions solely on budgets or what seems logical, rather than follow God's leading and trusting Him to provide.
Many times, people believe a church has "arrived" or is successful when they have a paid pastor. They view the pastor as their personal chaplain who visits them when they're sick and caters to their every need. Pastors themselves can use the security of a salary to determine their call instead of pursuing God in midst of uneasiness, messiness and even chaos.
Mediate on 2 Cor. 3:16-18 and consider its implications for ministry today. Write down what you are feeling and what God is saying to you? What first step will you take?