Tearing down idols

th-8That night the Lord said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it. Then build an altar to the Lord your God here on this hilltop sanctuary, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.” (Judges 6:25-26)

Before any of us can go out and do mighty things for God in the world, we have to take care of what’s going on at home. Before we can defeat the enemy that is encamped about us, we must deal with the one that already wormed its way into our household. There’s no way God is going to give Gideon victory over the Midianites while the false god, Baal, sits smugly atop the place of worship in his father’s house, where someone might even think it was by the power of the idol that the victory was won. No way.

And yet this is such a common reality. Indeed, for many who have experienced success outside the home, the tendency is to become more and more involved “out there” and pay less and less attention to what is going on “in here,” because what’s going on in here isn’t going so well. How can I expect God to entrust His wider family to me when I’m letting my own family go at home?

Our idols are not as obvious and clearly defined as Gideon’s, yet our idols are quite prolific. Indeed, our idols can be virtually anything. Anything we return to for comfort, power, insight — things God supplies to us freely — is an idol because it has taken over the place of God. For instance, one of my idols is the Ignore button. I press it whenever th-7anything becomes too difficult for me, and by doing that, I supplant God who is available to empower me to do the difficult thing. The Ignore button has to come down.

Think about what (who) you go to for comfort. Find that which gives you a false sense of power and makes you think you’re smarter than everyone else, and you’ve probably found and idol in your house that needs to come down. Believe me, we’ve got lots of them.

So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town. (Judges 6:27)

When you knock down an idol, you find out that’s all it was — an idol. Not the real thing at all. It’s powerless; that’s how you can knock it down. The only power idols have is the power we give them in our lives. Take them down and they are nothing.

Gideon got no argument from the idol. Tearing it down was a relatively easy job; he and his servants accomplished it all in one night. Cutting up the wooden Asherah pole only showed that it was made up of nothing but firewood — excellent fuel for an offering to the true God of Israel. The resistance came from the people of Gideon’s family who had given these idols of stone and wood significance in their lives. We have a psychological word for this: it’s called codependency.

When we knock down one of our idols, we will undoubtedly receive resistance from those close to us who have made adjustments to that idol in their lives as well. Just like Gideon’s family, they will have to decide what they are going to do without that idol in the house. The point is, it will create an environment that calls for a greater dependence on God, and that is where we all want to be.

I can’t necessarily insist that everyone in my family worships the one true God. God has given us all this thing called free will which I can’t mess with. But I can create an environment where I can say, and hopefully live out, what Joshua, the first of the judges of Israel, said: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15)

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4 Responses to Tearing down idols

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Wuv today’s Catch Pastor John! It so reminded me of my first Pastor. What i mean is this one Monday evening we went to go visit the people’s house that had came to Church that following Sunday and request a visit to their house from the him – I was a newer believer @ this time and was thoroughly enjoy being w/ him on this call – We had a good time and it was a great visit too…

    What remember him telling me was how when he newly married and had a couple of children his wife told him: You’re one of the World’s great Evangelist, yet you are also one of the worst father’s and it was soo funny what he said: Mark @ first i thought she was ‘back sliding’ Then he told me he had to prayed about that – And sure enough he said, he finally figured it out. I really liked how you phrased it: “Before any of us can go out and do mighty things for God in the world, we have to take care of what’s going on at home.”

    And this had me saying an Amen: “The only power idols have is the power we give them in our lives.” 🙂

  2. Bill in KCK says:

    First of all, THANK YOU John for this series on Gideon. I know you are not even close to the end yet, but as far as I am concerned, this is some of the best Bible teaching you have included in TheCatch!
    I also wanted to comment on the pagan idols in the Old Testament that current day followers of Jesus Christ tend to look down on and wonder how God’s chosen people could so often return to worshiping other gods. Im sure that nowadays you might have a difficult time finding an idol of wood, stone or metal on the shelves in most Christian homes. But my definition of an idol is ANYTHING that has a higher value or receives more attention in our daily lives than we give to God. So that means the idol field is wide open and includes finances, jobs, property, spouses, children, etc and the list goes on and on. Yes I know that we are to love our family but not at the expense of loving God first and remember He is the only One that can offer you eternal life.

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