Gideon (1)

No other gods

“… if the Lord is with us, then why has all this happened to us?”

That’s what Gideon asked when his country was under constant attack of enemies who again and again destroyed all their crops so they had barely something to eat.

I love how God approaches Gideon with this phrase:

“The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”

In fact Gideon was hiding in fear for the enemies, secretely trashing wheat in a wine press…
So what was this greeting all about?
Thankfully God showed up and revealed that He hadn’t abandoned them after all.
He was still willing to deliver them and protect them, despite the fact that they had been worshiping other gods.
But this would only happen if they turned their backs to these foreign gods and start worshiping God again.
So God empowered Gideon to destroy the images and altars of these false gods.
Baal needed to be taken down.

Read also “Purpose of worship”.

This took great courage because Gideon would basicly have to stand up against everyone in the land, even his own family, since they all worshiped Baal.
But it had to be done and God would be with Gideon while he did it.
So Gideon destroyed them.
He took down Baals altar and the pole next to it and instead he built an altar for God and sacrificed on it the bull that was probably meant to be offered to Baal.
Of course did meant trouble, and the people wanted to kill Gideon.
But his father wisely responded that Baal could fight for himself if he was a god.
So they left him alone.
Then Gideon raises up an army and through divine help they defeat the enemy.

Unfortunately the story doesn’t end there.
After their victory Gideon used the spoil, existing of golden ornaments, to make an ephod and put it up for people to see.
An ephod was a garment that was part of the clothing of the high priest.
It was used to ask counsel from God, to give directions in specific circumstances.
Gideon probably meant well when he made it, wanting to bring honor to God.
Yet God had not told him to make it.
God was always very specific in his instructions in which He had to be worshiped.
He had told Gideon earlier to make an altar for him but not to make an ephod.
The bible tells that it became a snare for Gideon and the people, and they bowed to it.

I remember being surprised when I read this.
It didn’t seem to ad up to the Gideon that bravely stood up against other gods and destroyed them.
Yet he was not altogether worshiping another god, but God, Yahweh himself, in the form of an object.
Something He always forbids. Much like the Israelites had done in the desert when they made a golden calf and proclaimed it to be the God that had delivered them.
Thereby greatly diminishing God.
So what was the problem here? What lesson can we draw from it?

I believe it’s a warning.
Even when we worship God, which sounds good in itself, we can obviously go astray!
Our intention might be right, yet 1% disobedience to what God commands us is really 100% disobedience to God.
You can’t disobey just a piece of God. You either obey him or you don’t.
We can initially do something out of love, with the intention to serve people.
Which is a form of worship because you express your love for him, by loving whom and what He loves.
Yet selfish motivations can easily sneak in. When you receive gratitude and honor for what you initially did as an act of giving (I’m not saying we shouldn’t honor and thank people!) your heart needs to stay pure, completely focusing on serving out of love, and not on what we get from it in return.

The best way to do this is to acknowledge that all our abilities come from God.
Every ounce of strenght to help others, and every little piece of wisdom and revelation come from him. Even our every breath is a gift from God.
We should never let our success define us and put it up as a visible symbol of our accomplishments. That’s basicly what Gideon did!
And it’s idolatry even if it doesn’t have the name of another god.
I’ll tell you the name. It’s called SELF.
He took the spoil from his victory and put it up and worshiped it.
Perhaps under the disguise of giving honor to God.
Probably even deceiving himself!
Thinking it was an act of worship.
But it was an act of worshiping himself and not God.
And it became a snare.

Read also “Purpose of worship”.


Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you if you have other gods.
Are there places in your life that outwardly look godly but are really (tained with) worship to self?
Where are you still on the throne of your life and haven’t surrendered to the lordship of God completely?

Be blessed!

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