Good Intentions and Idolatry

In Judges 8:22-27 the record of Gideon continues:

22 Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. 23 And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you.
24 And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)25 And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey. 26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels’ necks.
27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.Judges 8:22-27

The Israelites wanted a king to rule over them. Notice in verse 22 who they said had delivered Israel. 300 men had accomplished so much, but it was God who brought the deliverance.  You would think they would would have been amazed and excited to have seen God work so mightily through so few. Gideon rightfully declined the kingship and told them that the Lord would rule over them.

The next thing he asked probably had good intentions behind it. Maybe Gideon wanted to have something to remind him of the victory. It does not say God told him to make the ephod, but as the old saying goes: “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”. Eventually it became an idol and a snare because Israel went ‘a whoring after it’ (it became their object of worship) .

Back in Exodus, God had Moses fashion a brazen serpent to be lifted up to heal his people from the poisonous snakes that had they had encountered. People were healed when they looked at it. The incident is even recorded in John 3:14-16 as a type for Jesus Christ. The Israelites held on to this brazen serpent for several hundreds of years afterward and eventually Hezekiah had to destroy it because idolatry had developed around it. People worshiped it.

When a form, tradition, ritual, person or place stands in between our relationship with God, nothing good comes from it. When something we have trouble with or something comes at us we don’t understand, often we run to someone else and unload and complain to them. Wow! we do ourselves such a disservice when we don’t take things to God who is our sufficiency especially in this day and time when we have access to God through the work of Jesus Christ.  It is so tempting to call someone and dump it on them, or dumping a quote on Facebook or Twitter ~ anything but take it to the One who is ready, willing and able to help us out ‘exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think’! (Ephesians 3:20)  It is certainly nice to know our thinking is the low bar and we actually have a right to the high bar. God goes beyond what we ask or think. Wow isn’t that comforting?!


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