Friday, June 29, 2012

a few final words on Gideon, maybe (Gideon Part 3)

As I was trying to wrap things up on Gideon a couple of final thoughts kept creeping back into my mind that I want to share with you.

Remember when I said that the Israelites hiding was caused by sin but driven by fear? I want to make it real clear here that, for the most part, the underlying causes of our hiding are ultimately caused by our own sin. Let’s not make ourselves the innocent victims of our circumstances here. I’m not talking about circumstances that are out of our control; I am talking about what happens when we turn from God and decide that we think we want is better than what he has for us. We screw up, we hide.

Let me remind you that the very first people who ever had to go into hiding were Adam and Eve right after they had disobeyed God and stamped our existence with the very first act of sin (“I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”). The beautiful thing about that account is that it is also the very first time that we see God pursuing his loved ones and calling out to them. He never, ever will let us stay in hiding.

Before the angel of the lord ever comes to Gideon verses 7-10 tell us this:

When the Israelites cried out to the Lord because of Midian,  he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. I said to you, ‘I am the Lord your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.

One of the things that Gideon was told to do was, “Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it”, because the nation of Israel was up to their necks in idolatry.

What kind of altars have we built to “Baal”? We worship ourselves, we worship the approval of others, we worship our money and all of the things it will buy us, we worship our jobs, and we worship our bodies and obsess about making them perfect; we worship whatever it is that we think is going to make us happy and free, we run to them when in the end those are the very things that end up ensnaring us.

(Okay, this is a total rabbit chase but at the moment I can’t help myself, I must tell you that I think that it is totally fascinating that Moses kills an Egyptian and flees to Midian. He makes a life for himself there, is comfortable and well off. Maybe this is a far stretch, but don’t you think that it has to be more than a simple coincidence that Moses flees to Midian (to hide and protect himself), yet it is now those same peoples that are the ones tormenting the Israelites that he freed?)

In the garden God covered Adam and Eve so they could come out of hiding, on the cross Jesus’ blood has provided a cover for us so we could come out of hiding. Christ is the one who defeated the Midianites, Gideon’s only job as to obey and get rid of those idols.

I don’t want to just be brave, I want to take the provision and the strength of God to empower me to do his will, I want to get rid of my idols and run toward freedom.

“For Narnia and the North!”

Oh wait, wrong book.

“For the Lord and for Gideon.” v.18

I know I said there were a couple of final thoughts. The second will have to wait till next week. Have a blessed weekend. See you then!

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