When Every Man Does What Is Right in His Own Eyes

Text: Judges 17:1-6

The book of Judges covers the period between the conquest of the land of Canaan under Joshua to the time of the kings. It was a time of wickedness, oppression, and anarchy (Judges 2:11-15; 21:25). Toward the end of the book, we are introduced to a man named Micah. This account is an illustration of what happens when “every man [does] what is right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).

Family Relationships Mean Nothing

  • First thing on record that this man did was steal from his mother (Judges 17:2) – willing to sin against a parent
  • This was a failure to obey the command to honor father and mother (Exodus 20:12)
  • When we do what is right in our own eyes, family relationships will not matter to us – will not honor parents (Ephesians 6:1-2); will not teach/discipline children (Ephesians 6:4); will not sacrifice for our spouse (Ephesians 5:22, 25)
  • We need to do what is right in God’s eyes – fulfill familial responsibilities as God has instructed

Civil Law Means Nothing

  • In the first act we see on record for Micah, he stole from his mother (Judges 17:2) – took what did not belong to him; disregard of the property rights of others
  • This was a failure to obey the command to not steal (Exodus 20:15) – this was a civil law (besides being a moral law)
  • When we do what is right in our own eyes, civil law will not matter to us – will not submit to authorities (1 Peter 2:13); will not disobey when necessary for the Lord’s sake either (Acts 5:29)
  • We need to do what is right in God’s eyes – submit to rulers as He expects/allows us to

God’s Law Means Nothing

  • The money he returned was dedicated to the Lord (Judges 17:3) – he took some to a silversmith (Judges 17:4); made idols and an ephod and made one of his sons a priest (Judges 17:5)
  • This was a failure to obey the command to have no graven images (Exodus 20:4) and the instruction that priests were to come from the tribe of Levi (Numbers 3:5-9)
  • When we do what is right in our own eyes, God’s law will not matter to us – will not respect His authority (Matthew 28:18; Colossians 3:17); will not obey (Matthew 28:20); will not follow the pattern in His word (2 Timothy 1:13)
  • We need to do what is right in God’s eyes – submit to His will that has been revealed in His word

Loyalty Means Nothing

  • Micah hired a Levite to be his own personal priest (Judges 17:7-12) – right tribe, but wrong position (house); later, the Levite was convinced to forsake his agreement with Micah by the sons of Dan (Judges 18:17-20)
  • This was not repentance, but a failure to fulfill a commitment he made to Micah (Proverbs 20:6)
  • When we do what is right in our own eyes, our commitments to others will not matter to us – in the workplace (Colossians 3:22-23); in the local church (Hebrews 10:25); to those around us (Matthew 5:33-37)
  • We need to do what is right in God’s eyes – we should be known for being trustworthy and reliable

You Mean Nothing

  • Micah confronted the sons of Dan for taking his idols and the Levite (Judges 18:21-24) – he was shown no respect from them and there was nothing he could do to stop them (Judges 18:25-26)
  • This was a failure by the sons of Dan to love others and respect them (Leviticus 19:18; cf. Proverbs 22:2)
  • When we do what is right in our own eyes, our existence becomes futile – may seem like freedom (Ecclesiastes 2:10), but it is all vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:11); we are nothing without God
  • We need to do what is right in God’s eyes – He made us inherently valuable; we must fulfill our purpose (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Conclusion

  • The idea that we can do whatever we want is appealing, yet it only ends in trouble – Micah disregarded family, law, and God’s commands to do what he wanted; no use in the end
  • We live in a time when “every man [does] what is right in his own eyes” – it is appealing to many; but it is no use in the end
  • The way that “seems right” to us is the “way of death” (Proverbs 14:12)

When you subscribe, you’ll also receive 3 free PDF’s: Plain Bible Teaching on Government, the latest issue of Plain Bible Teaching Quarterly Review, and Social Issues.