If Samson revealed a life that failed to live up to his calling, Micah represents a life of misguided religion. He’s a great illustration of Pascal’s concept of a God-shaped vacuum in our lives. Although Pascal is often paraphrased as saying, “There is a God-shaped hole in every human heart,” that’s not really accurate. His actual statement in Pensees (which was a collection of his notes on a variety of subjects first published in 1670, eight years after his death) was:
“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace?
This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.” (Quoted from Penses, Penguin Books, 1966)
Micah knows this sense of an infinite abyss. He first tries to fill it with money, stealing silver from his mother. When that fails to satisfy and results in her cursing him, without knowing it was him, he returns the silver. His mother, equally ignorant of the God of Israel and His law, takes a portion of the silver to create molded and sculpted images for her son to worship. That obviously doesn’t satisfy either as he first appoints one of his own sons and then finally hires a wandering Levite to serve as his priest. He’s search, desperately it seems, for a relationship with God, but he’s looking for God’s love in all the wrong places.
Does that sound familiar? I can’t be too harsh in judging Micah’s idolatry because I know that I’ve tried to create my own gods, or find my own way to reach the One True God, as well.
I’m so thankful that it wasn’t up to me to mold a god in my image and it wasn’t up to me to find the True God. He found me. For reasons I can’t comprehend, He chose to reveal Himself to me and continues to show me more and more of His character, His love, and His mercy every single day.