"Tear down your father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height." ~Judges 6:25-26
Gideon's family had taken to worshiping foreign gods, and God wanted Gideon to do something about it. He must tear their altars down and build new ones to the one, true God. Gideon did it, but he was so afraid of what his family would think, he tore them down at night. He still had some growing to do in his trust of God, but he was experiencing a very real human fear of rejection for his beliefs and for following God's ways.
We're experiencing the same things today. We're not tearing down Asherah poles -- at least I haven't lately. But there are other altars that have been built into our lives that we must tear down and replace with the altar of the one, true God. Maybe we have allowed the god of complacency to enter into our lives. Or the deceiver. What about laziness or anger. Maybe it's a person who is taking all our time and thoughts. Maybe an activity or hobby. Sometimes very innocuous activities that in and of themselves are fine can begin to take a top drawer position in our priorities. There are all kinds of "gods" we allow to take over our lives and maybe we don't even realize it is happening. But when we allow those things to creep in, we are slowing and surely, pushing God aside.
Our God is a jealous God. He does not take being replaced lightly. The very first commandment God gave to Moses was, "You shall have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3) Too often we hear that and think, "Well, I don't worship other gods. I worship just God. I go to church; I pray to God." But whenever we place anyone or anything above God in our hearts, we are worshiping that person or thing. God must take top priority in our lives -- in all our thoughts, actions, motives, emotions, decisions..... He wants to be in every part of our being. And if he isn't, He will encourage us to tear down the altars and build the right one.
He may demand our respect and attention, but it is for our own good. If He is not Lord of our life, if anything else steps in the place where He belongs, we are choosing a path that is outside of His will. It may be unpopular, but we must take a stand. He will be Lord with or without me. I choose to stand with Him.
- Do you stand for God and His truth, or are you letting other things take priority?
- What causes us to veer away from standing firmly with God?
- How can we prevent straying from placing God first in our life?
- What price do I need to pay to stand with God? Am I willing?
Father, I believe it is going to get harder and harder to stand with You. The world's philosophy is like a giant magnet enticing me to attach and conform. But my heart remains with You. Keep me close, Father. Even though it may be difficult, help me to stand in Your truth and as Your servant. Amen.