25 That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.
26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.”
27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.” Judges 6:25-27
What are the idols that reign in our own lives that need to be torn down? The writer of Judges makes it clear that during the time of Gideon the Israelites suffered severely under the domination of the people of Midian. These raiders would swoop down on the tribes of Israel when the harvest was ripe and take everything. Things became so bad that the people moved into caves to hide from the devastating raids of the Midians.
With little food to be had it is interesting that God called upon Gideon to sacrifice a “seven year old bull” from his father’s herd. Maybe what we can learn from this is that the simple act of tearing down idols cost a great deal.
Let’s be honest. We have things in our lives that we know are bad for us or wrong, but we hold on to them. We can make all kinds of excuses why we do the things we do, but the reality is we like sin and it takes a great deal of effort to uproot it.
When God told Joshua to go and tear down the altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole it might of sounded like the right thing to do. However, the reality of actually carrying out what needed to be done was quite different. The work was of such a magnitude that he needed ten people to help him and because of his fear he did it at night.
Some things dwell deep in our souls and it is no easy matter to allow God to remove them. We know we need help in the matter, but because we are afraid to lose the comfort of our sins we hold on despite the personal cost and misery it brings. When we cry out to God for help it is not a sincere entreaty, but like Israel in their cycles of rebellion and “doing evil in the sight of God,” it is only a plea to get us out of the problem our sin has brought us. It is not a true repentance that brings us to the foot of the cross in the humility of a surrendered heart.
When we do honestly decide to pull down the idols that encompass us things don’t always go so well.
“28 In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!
29 They asked each other, “Who did this?” When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”
30 The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son he must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.” Judges 6:28-30
People don’t like it when their idols are overturned and broken down by others. I remember being in the presence of an out of control alcoholic who screamed and threatened his wife who had destroyed his stash of rum and vodka. His rage was beyond imagination and he finally stormed out of the house shouting warnings and threats over his shoulder as he staggered away.
What is amazing about Judges 6:28-30 is how carefully the people of the town investigate into this matter of the destruction of their idols. And when they do find out who it was that destroyed their gods they decide that the person must die.
It’s easy to get turned around and all mixed up when our spiritual idols come crashing down. We blame the church, each other, faulty theology and a dozen and one other things but very seldom ourselves. It is difficult to say we were wrong in what we believed, taught and held true. Idols don’t die easily.
Let’s not be afraid of the idols in our life. They may be strong and the property of others but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t tackle them and cut them down at the root. We may need help, but there is nothing shameful in that. We may not have a lot of courage for the undertaking and we may come to the problem in the heart of the darkness, but so what?
One thing is sure. If we allow the idol to fester it will eventually push God out and then devour us. I know – I’ve been there. Sixteen years of indifference and self-satisfaction all but swept God out of my life. It didn’t take long for idols to find a home and eventually become the cornerstone of my thinking and how I acted.
You know the idols in your life and the power they hold over you. It is time we all let go and put our trust in Christ. At the cross the idols came crashing down and have no power to rule over us. It is up to us however, to grab ahold of God’s grace and put our faith in His victory.
Be courageous, be strong, no regrets, no retreat. May God reign supreme in our hearts and the joy of Christ ring true in our hearts.
* Please take the time to read some of the stories of Christians who are experiencing persecution for their total commitment to Christ. They need our support and prayers.. http://thebeggardanced.com/nine-oclock-club/ there is much more on the internet…