(Today's post is by Marc Cannon)
Beer & Wine
Church…yes even church.
Man, I LOVE these things; every one of them! So much so at times in my life I have worshiped them all. All have at some point in my life have been my god and many at the same time! These are things I look forward to the most, some way more than others. These are the things that have given me comfort in the past; especially the relational aspects of the list above.
When you look at the Israelites and compare them to the group of men that are reading this blog I cannot help to compare who we are to the plight of the every day Israelite. Think about it guys. These folks, like many of us, found favor with God became comfortable for a while and then said “You know what, we got this…” and as soon as they let that little crack of sin in their lives ‘WHAAAAAWPOW!!!!! it manifested into full blown idolatry. So what does the Lord of the Universe do? He honors their decision. He hands them over to the sin they’re wrecked with and they are ravaged. Their lands are taken, their food is stolen, their way of life is totally dismantled. He gives them over to the Midians and they totally ruin the Israelites lives. These people, God’s people, cannot even prepare food from a harvest for fear of being raped of their sustenance. I can relate…All too well. Those things I listed above, well, they’ve been the Baal in my life. I’ve built altars to each of them in my time. We all have…We ALL do. And just like with the Israelites the Lord gives us over to those sins if we choose those over him. What does that mean in our lives? For me, at least, it’s meant a lot of hurt, pain, anxiety, false hope, and terrible decisions. And sin still wrecks lives in this day and age.
In those times I’ve turned to food, or drinking, or relationships or activities to try and fill the void left from turning my back on the Lord. I’ve even turned to the church. They’re a fleeting fix that can quickly become the permanent focus in life. The Israelites were mired in worship of false gods equally as destructive. In walks Gideon.
Gideon is a meager man from a meager family and God picks him to change the fate of his people. He sits Gideon down and says “Look, Gideon, I want you to tear down the alters the Israelites have been worshiping (Which meant he could be killed or even worse!) Then wage war against those who have persecuted you”. And just like I’ve said hundreds of times to the Lord Gideon says, “Uh, Lord, are you talking to me? You want ME to do what? Come’on man, REALLY? Me? Okay Lord….But, only if you give me a sign that it’s really YOU asking me”… Then Gideon does what I do all the time…”Lord, give me a sign”…. “You want me to end this relationship that is marred in sin? Give me a sign”… “You want me to live a healthier lifestyle to better serve you ? Give me a sign”. Ye of little faith we are. I mean the Lord lit a ROCK ON FIRE for Gideon! A ROCK! I’ve seen this in myself and in my brothers countless times when we put things before the Lord. We question and point blank lose faith.
But God is merciful and patient. He knew what Gideon was capable of so he kept proving himself to him. He knows what each of you are capable of. He has a plan for each of us in his Kingdom and it’s not a meager plan! It’s a plan to do great things if we just step out in faith and tear down those altars!
Are there any “altars” in your heart today where you sacrifice to your god(s)?