Sunday, June 25, 2017

Judges 17:1-4 -- On Making Things Right

"And there was a man of amount Ephraim, whose name was Micah.
And he said unto his mother, The eleven hundred shekels of silver that were taken from thee, about which thou cursedst, and spakest of also in mine ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it. And his mother said, Blessed be thou of the Lord, my son.
And when he had restored the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother, his mother said, I had wholly dedicated the silver unto the Lord from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image: now therefore I will restore it unto thee.
Yet he restored the money unto his mother; and his mother took two hundred shekels of silver, and gave them to the founder, who made thereof a graven image and a molten image: and they were in the house of Micah."
Judges 17:1-4

This is an interesting story.  Micah is introduced here to explain a couple of things that he does later, but his mother seems to be introduced only for this story.  Micah comes to his mother and tells her that he was the one that took the very significant amount of money that was stolen from her.  He gives it back, and she tells him that she was saving it for him anyway, giving him permission to keep it, but he gives it back anyway, and she takes part of it and has a gift made for him anyway.

This is a complicated situation for people that care about each other.  They both want to preserve the relationship, but there are difficult things to say on both sides.  I think that it is amazing that the first thing the mother says after he confesses is "blessed be thou of the Lord."  Perhaps she already knew that he did it, and is grateful that he finally admitted it, and that he is trying to be honest and change... but even so, it's a very kind way to respond to a confession about something so personal, and that likely had harmed her financial situation deeply.  It's also remarkable that Micah returns the money anyway, even after being given permission to keep it.  He had been affected by what he had done, and learned his lesson so well that he wasn't willing to leave his mother without her savings.  Seems like a sign of true repentance to me.

Interestingly, some men steal from Micah in the next chapter, and Micah chases them, but when they threaten his life and the lives of his household, he backs down and goes home (Judges 18:25-26).  We can't be certain, of course, but he may have learned from his mother that family is more important than property, and thus not been so obsessed with worldly possessions that he put his family in danger.

Today, let's think about the lesson of Micah and his mother.  Let's make things right in our relationships.  Let's remember that people are more important than things--not just at home.  Let's learn to love and forgive, and also learn to repent when we need to.  Maybe it won't always go as well as it did between Micah and his mother, but the repentance has to happen before the relationship has any chance of healing.  Let's work on making things right, with others and with the Lord.

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