I am worried...of late...or rather deeply concerned about the degree of idolatry that is everywhere I look. In reading about Gideon today in Judges I was so moved and again inspired by how intimately God led him to victory. How God sweetly sent Gideon 'in the strength he had', how God patiently confirmed though not one but two fleeces, how he knew he'd face fear and sent dreams to encourage.. and of course how miraculously and spectacularly God delivered Israel amidst trumpet blares and crashing jars that threw the enemy into utter chaos. I suppose I had forgotten, or recklessly overlooked the small passages that refer to what happened at the end of the great victory.
While Gideon rightfully declined to rule over the people and abdicating the glory and leadership to the one and only Almighty God... he did in the end ask for a portion of the spoils in the form of gold earrings. (I had to read that twice it sounded so odd...) Nevertheless, Gideon took all these earrings and melted them down into 42lbs of gold and then... remarkably he fashioned then into an ephod.. a what.. a figure, statue, i dunno... but an idol! The bible says that he put that idol in his home town and the people worshiped it and it became a snare... A SNARE to he and his family.
WHAT!?? HE DID WHAT?? What was he thinking? ON the tails of the greatest God ordained moment of his life.. the greatest victory.. being used mightily by God because of his heart, his submission, his cut-to-the-bone obedience... and he does WHAT?!! He makes his own version of an "Oscar" a "Gold Record" a memorial to self, performance, and accomplishment. Why couldn't he have worshiped like Deborah and Barak?? An ephod was a priestly garment .. used for adornment and in service in the temple. So perhaps Gideon was deceived into fashioning the idol as he may have thought this was a Holy thing??
I wonder what his thinking was at first... "I deserve a small portion of the spoils -- surely." I wonder how small the whisperings of his pride were at the start. I wonder how often I listen to these whispers, how often I let the entitlement attitude enter into my life... and what Idols I've picked up along the way that misdirect and pervert my worship and the worship of others. What works of my hands (or my voice?!) have I elevated to high places that have become a snare to me .. and worse to my beloved family. If I had sack cloth.. I'd put it on...
I am awakened. Sickened. Repentant. Deeply concerned that idols are everywhere... being set up now ... being set up even by us, Christians... poles, high places, heart positions, ministries, and dreams that rank higher than our precious Lord.
May I daily pray to obliterate idols in my life. May we all daily, by the power and conviction of he Holy Spirit root out and tear down false alters and trophies of performance in our lives. Jesus... sweet Jesus... I am so sorry.