1. Judges 17:1–13 (ESV)
  2. Application

Heart focused on what God has commanded, yet not on God himself

Judges 17:1–13 (ESV)

1 There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah.

Do you know what it is to basically have your heart more focused on the things God has instructed you to do than on God himself? Or, to say it differently, do you know what it is to go through all the motions and assume that therefore God will bless you? Do you know what it is to be confident that God will bless you because you read your Bible every morning, say your prayers, go to church, give of your firstfruits, attend church meetings, Bible study, have an eye for the strugglers in the church, support Christian education, teach your children the truth? All of these have their place in the Christian life. But the Lord has clearly revealed the basis of his blessing us. And it is really not any of these things. If you give your heart to these things in themselves rather than to Christ as the only way in which God gives his blessings to you, you have bought into a gospel no different than Micah’s, his mother’s, or the Levite’s. It’s a form of false worship that disregards the heart of God’s teaching. It is a form of honouring God with the lips, but having a heart far from him, which is something our Saviour said greatly displeases him, because of its hypocrisy. On this, there can be no real blessing. The text is sobering: you can have pious words, claim to be serving the Lord, and even point to signs of outward success that suggest God is blessing you, and all the while, you could be under God’s curse, or God’s discipline. Words and appearances are not everything.