The folly of Relativism
By Ysrael De la Cruz
A worldview is the platform upon which you stand to make sense of the world. It is your mindset, outlook on life. Everyone has a worldview. Relativism teaches that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, historical or personal context and is not absolute. One of the defining aspects of our culture is its rejection of truth and authority. But everyone has an authority by which they organize their lives and by which they make choices. In our culture it has become the self. The self is exalted as the supreme authority. We are familiar with phrases like. “Follow your heart” “do whatever makes you happy” “It’s about what you want.” “All religion leads to the same path.” We may not even realize that these sentences are dripping with relativism. Doing whatever makes you happy may end up hurting someone; but it doesn’t matter because it’s about you. I am sure the rapist did what made him happy; the murderer as well. Who determines what is right and wrong? In a relativistic culture, you determine what is right and what is wrong. This was the leading way of thinking during the time of Judges in Israel.
The book of Judges tells us how Joshua took the nation to the land Yahweh had promised; Joshua dismissed the people to go and take possession of their inheritance. The Israelites served the LORD during the lifetime of Joshua; but after the death of Joshua, a new generation grew up who did not know the LORD or what he had done for Israel. The book of Judges describes a sad period in the history of God’s people. They had forgotten the LORD and did what was evil in the eyes of the LORD. The people of God became victims to invaders, but God in his great mercy would raise up a judge to deliver them. When the judge would die, the people went back to doing evil.
Judges 17:6 explains to us what was going on during this time in the history of Israel. In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.
In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes. ESV
Everyone did what they thought was right in their own eyes; everyone determined what was morally right or wrong; they were their own authority for each person set up their own standard.
Chapter 17 gives us an example of this type of relativistic thinking that ruled the Jewish people.
This story happened after the death of Samson; who was one of the judges God used to help his people.
This Micah is not the same as the prophet Micah. The text tells us that he had stolen 1,100 pieces of silver from his mother and then returned it to her.
His mother consecrated the shekels of silver (v.3) “I dedicate the silver to the LORD from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a metal image. Now therefore I will restore it to you.” ESV
All forms of worship and religious practices are equally valid in a relativistic culture. (vv.3-5)
You worship whoever you want to worship, and you do it in the way that is pleasing to you.
–dedicate the silver to the Lord by making a carved image and a cast idol. (v.3)
–Micah made a shrine (a place of worship); an ephod (a sleeveless garment worn by Jewish priests); installed one of his own sons to be his priest.
Micah created his own religion, made a god, built a temple, made his priestly garments and appointed his own priest.
(v.6) IN those days Israel had not king; everyone did as they saw fit.
In a relativistic culture there is no right or wrong way of worship; you do what feels right to you. This is what Micah did; His religion was his own construction; he included what he wanted. So many people have the same approach to the God of the Bible; they think they can worship him whichever way they wish. That they have the authority to worship whoever they want and in the way they want. Some, like Micah, carve images and bow down to them. In our society people like to mix aspects of all kinds of religions in their attempt to create the one that makes them happy.
Relativistic worship is wrong even if you hire the right person for the job (vv.7-13) Worshiping whichever way you want is useless, even if you hire the right pastor or priest.
–A Levite from Bethlehem in Judah. (this man is a direct descendant of the priestly tribe) God ordained that only the Levites would be priests. This man would certainly be able to teach Micah how to worship Yahweh.
-Micah hired this Levite to be his priest (v.10) Micah would pay him a year’s wage (10 pieces of silver); he would be provided with clothes and food. In other words, the Levite would be financially cared for as long as he was Micah’s priest. Micah was so happy to have the Levite live with him.
(v.13) “Now I know that the Lord will be good to be, since this Levite has become my priest.”
Micah wanted to worship the God of the Bible, Yahweh; but his worship was not in accordance to God’s own law and standard. Micah thought that God would be good to him because he hired the right man for the job. His hope is misplaced because they will continue to worship in their own ways. This Levite was far away from God as well. He would do things to make his boss happy; he was a priest to a carved idol just because he would get paid. This went against the God they attempted to worship.
The foolishness of Micah, thinking God would bless him because he hired the right person for the job as priest. Meanwhile he is worshiping an image as god.
God would be good to me since I will give money to charity. He would bless me now that I have attended church without missing a Sunday. Most people in our society want the blessings of God but they don’t want to do what he asks them to do. People expect God’s blessings even though they worship whichever way they want. You cannot worship the LORD (Yahweh, Jehovah, Jesus) whichever way you wish. You must do it according to his standard. God is the supreme authority; he determines what is right and wrong. One day we all will have to give an account to him our Creator concerning how we live our lives. When your outlook on the world is not based or founded on God’s truth, then you are prompt to embrace whatever else is around you. Micah was a Jewish person; his ancestors grew up worshiping the LORD. But he was influenced by the ways of the society in which he lived.
A relativistic culture kicks God out and invites all sorts of man-made gods. The LORD said to worship only him, not to have other gods but him. It is either him or not. He is the only true God
That phrase “Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” Imply that if they had a king, they would follow his rule. Yahweh was to be Israel’s king, but they rejected him. Everyone chose to be king of their own lives. When you refuse Jesus as your king you place your authority on someone or something else.
Is Jesus king of your life? Are you worshiping God in a relativistic way, in your own ways? Or are you doing it according to his instructions? He is the supreme authority, only he deserves our worship.