Questions to Consider
1. Go back to lesson 3 (link above) and review your answer to the first part of question 5, Israel’s pattern of sin and repentance in 2:16-23. How does today’s passage fit this pattern? How does today’s passage fit the theme verse of Judges (21:25), “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”?
2. Read chapter 17. Was this the same Micah who wrote the book of Micah? How do you know?
Remember the old “What’s wrong with this picture?” puzzles? This chapter seems like the Bible version of that. How many sins can you spot in this passage? Which of the Ten Commandments are being broken?
Is it possible to dedicate something to the Lord and simultaneously dedicate that thing to idolatry? (17:3) To worship the one true God via idol worship? How is this an example of syncretism? Explain why “syncretism” is just a fancy word for “idolatry”. How does syncretism violate the first two Commandments?
Explain the syncretism taking place in 17:7-13. Imagine you’re Micah’s godly, doctrinally sound friend and he says 17:13 to you. How would you correct his false theology from Scripture? (Challenge yourself: First try correcting him using any applicable Old or New Testament Scripture. Then try correcting him using only the Old Testament Scriptures/events/teachings he would have had access to or should have known (Genesis 1 – Judges 16).)
Why do you think 17:6 was inserted into this story?
3. Read 18:1-6. How is the purpose of 18:1 different from the purpose of 17:6 in today’s passage?
Carefully examine the interaction between the Levite and the men from Dan in 18:3-6. Generally speaking, what were the duties of the Levites? Was this Levite doing his job as Scripture commanded? Did the men from Dan know this? (18:3) What should they have done to the Levite (and Micah, for that matter)? What did they do instead (18:5)?
Explain how enlisting the priest of an idol to inquire of the Lord was also an example of syncretism. How does this compare to professing Christians of today who consult false teachers for a “word of knowledge” or “prophecy” over their lives, attend “churches” headed up by false teachers, “worship” God using music created by heretics, etc.?
4. Read 18:7-31. Examine and summarize the actions and beliefs of the men of Dan throughout chapter 18.
- What did they do in 18:5?
- What did they believe in 18:6, 10?
- What did they believe in 18:14-20 and what did they do 18:14-20 as a result of that belief?
Explain how idolatry and unbiblical theology led the men of Dan, and lead us, to sinful actions. How does what we believe about God impact what we do?
Do you think the men of Dan and the Levite were consciously, proactively, and objectively choosing to do wrong (idolatry), or do you think they were deceived and spiritually blind, thinking that their syncretism was good and pleasing to the Lord? Perhaps a mix of both? Ultimately, does it matter? Either way, they were sinning, right? How does this apply to professing Christians today who think they are actually worshiping the one true God, the God of the Bible, through false and unbiblical “Christian” systems like Catholicism, Mormonism, Word of Faith (prosperity gospel), and New Apostolic Reformation?
Really let Micah’s statement in 18:24 sink in. Compare it to these verses. What was Micah’s heart, hope and faith set on? Who were Asaph’s and Peter’s heart, hope, and faith set on?
5. Notice how idolatry not only permeates, but bookends (17:3-4, 18:30-31) today’s passage. How did the idolatry snowball from one woman purposing to make a household idol to an entire tribe of Israel worshiping that idol? Think about this in terms of how your own personal sin and unbiblical beliefs can impact not only you, but your family, friends, church, workplace, and community.
6. If Micah, the Levite, and the men of Dan had been committed to God and His Word, in what ways would this story be different?
7. In most passages of Scripture, God is present with His people. He’s giving a command, speaking through a prophet, the passage describes His thoughts and actions, etc. We’ve even seen God present in this way in previous passages in Judges. Where is God in Judges 17-18? Do you feel the weight of His absence in this passage? Are the false beliefs and sinful actions we see in this passage the cause or the result of God taking a step back from these people?
Can you think of any modern day examples of syncretism? What about churches offering yoga or “Christian yoga” classes? Churches that participate in Kwanzaa? Churches that use music from heretical sources? Christians who consult psychics, use horoscopes, or practice mindfulness? Think about the way you worship God and walk out your Christianity, both at church and as an individual. Is there any way in which you’re syncretizing Christianity and another religion, or Christianity and worldly methods?