Monday, April 05, 2010

What are we worshipping?

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Judges 6:25-26 (NIV): That same night the Lord said to (Gideon), “…Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on top of this height.”

Gideon was a tentative prophet for the Israelites. He hides out in a winepress, complaining to God that he can’t understand why the Israelites remain under the oppression of the Midianites. God reminds him that he brought the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt and brought them to the land of milk and honey. Then he gets to the point: “ ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you life.’ But you have not listened to me.”

Later, Gideon is preparing a sacrifice to put before the Lord. Gideon is complaining about all the bad things that keep happening to the Israelites while he prepares his sacrifice of a young goat and unleavened bread. Behind him lie an altar to Baal and an Asherah pole his father had built. Ouch! God tells him to first tear down the idols before coming before him for requests. So Gideon rounds up a few friends and tears down the altar of Baal and the Asherah pole, much to the consternation of the locals, who want to string up Gideon.

God’s message to Gideon was this: “Don’t complain of oppression at the hands of enemies while worshipping their gods, which I forbade.” The rest of the story you know: God, indeed, gives power to Gideon and the Israelites to defeat the Midianites. God pares down the Israelite army from 22,000 to a select few hundred fighting men, who, with God’s strength, go out and whip their powerful enemy under the guise of mass confusion. Point made.

What’s in our wallets, our garages, our living rooms, our kitchens, our bedroom, our back yards, or our office places that have become false idols and replaced God as the thing we worship? Idols aren’t just altars we see in a church, it’s whatever we dedicate our time and talents to. Maybe it’s money, maybe it’s a car, maybe it’s what we watch on TV, maybe it’s pornography, maybe it’s alcohol, or maybe it’s your kids. Whatever it is, those around us – our neighbors, our friends, our family – see it and they are confused as to what they should be worshipping. Before we go complaining to God about the difficulty of our lives, look around for the false idols we’ve put up and tear them down first. Then go to God for help.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, help me to see the idols in my life, and give me strength to tear them down. Help me to worship you only. Amen.