As we close out the year, I thought we could spend the week looking back at some of the most viewed blog entries, especially as it related to the daily themes. The most viewed entry of all of my 900 post is from December 9, 2020 entitled, Lessons From Gideon – Tear Down Your Altars. I have reposted this blog entry below. Although my friends from Africa help boost this post ( it pulls up in search engines), its relevance is true for all of us. This is a timely reminded to put first things first in every area of our lives as we begin the New Year.

Year In Review – Tear Down Your Altars

That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old.[b] Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole[c] beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of[d] altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second[e] bull as a burnt offering.” Judges 6:25-26 NIV

An imaginary monologue from St. Paul after reading the above verse – “Does this sound extreme? I have some friends, who heard the message of Jesus and became his followers. They were radically changed in their passions as demonstrated by openly confessing their offensive past ways of living which offended God. Previously they were heavily engaged in sorcery and all types of magical arts. The transformation was so radical that they cut ties with their old life by burning all of their books and stuff related to the magic. This was not a few books, but a huge pile. Since they were wealthy, these books were a compilation of lots and lots of money spent over many years. They took it to a public park and burned it all, possibly several million dollars worth of material.” Luke recorded this event in Acts 19:17-20.

Previously in Gideon’s life – The Midianites had been oppressing and stealing from the Israelites for 7 years when an Angel appeared to Gideon. The Angel told Gideon that he was chosen to be their deliverer. Gideon had a God encounter and lived. Now he receives his first instructions for obedience – Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole.

Background context of the passage

  • Second bull that was seven years old. Possibly the first bull was Gideon’s father, Josiah, and the second bull would have been Gideon’s. Bulls were used in sacrificial ceremonies and the meat was sometimes used for food. This bull represented the length of time of oppression by the Midianites. Gideon had been hiding and saving it for 7 years and now it would be gone.
  • Altar to Baal – Baal was a Canaanite god. Canaanites were the people who lived in the land before the Israelites took possession. Baal was known as the god of fertility and he was directly linked to good production of crops and herds. During troubled times for the harvest, some were known to sacrifice their children on the altars of Baal to regain his favor. They believed if they honored Baal through worship, he would help their crops grow and help them prosper. This violated the the first and second commands of the Ten Commandments.
  • Asherah pole – Asherah was the mother goddess of the Canaanites. She was known as the mother of all living things. The pole was most likely a sculptured tree, but could have been a literal pole. The tree was synonymous with productive fertility which was the most important element in an agrarian society. The worship at this place represented “another god” who could help them.

Gideon’s first step of obedience was to tackle sin against God which existed within his own family. God had clearly designated that worshipping of idols was prohibited in the 10 commandments. Many would become angry with his decision to tear it down. In fact, he knew they would be upset, so he tore down the altar at night. His act of obedience would interfere with the cultural customs of all those who lived with him.

Today’s gleaning

  • Changes needed in our culture start with changes in our own family first.
    • If we want to have a strong voice for purity and holiness which honors God, we must align our lives with His ways.
    • Much moral authority of the voice of the church has been lost because of hypocrisy. It has been reported that 50 percent of Christian men look at pornography regularly. Christians have chosen to redefine sexual misconduct (living together, sex before marriage, same sex relationships) as okay and normal. Our perverted cultural mantra is – God must change to our beliefs instead of us changing to His commands.
    • We spend tons of money on entertainment and have little to give to ministry endeavors. Repentance and judgment begins in our own homes first.
  • Idols don’t have to be statues.
    • An idol can be anything we honor to receive a benefit which circumvents God such as…
      • Watching TV programs to help us escape our present struggles.
      • Any addictions (medicinal or hobby) used to numb the pain of dealing with stress.
      • Pursuing wealth which sacrifices time with our family or other believers.
      • Exalting pleasure as the standard for making decisions such as keeping marriage commitments or deciding on entertainment choices.
  • You know you have an idol when you try to dethrone its influence in your life.
    • If you start making concessions and accommodations to keep something going in your life, it has a “strong-hold” on you.
    • Everybody has one, doesn’t mean it’s right
    • Idols require a sacrifice of money or time, shifting either of those two away from an activity will reveal its grip on your life.
  • If you have been engaged in occult activities or drugs, getting rid of “the stuff” from your life is vitally important.
    • Removing the stuff is only the first step, but it will be the most important step.
    • Gideon had 10 friends help with tearing down the altar. You may need friends to help carry out your commitment to remove the rhythms of worshipping things other than God.
  • God is serious about worshipping Him and Him alone.
    • The Ten Commandments were not suggestions, but commands which lead to life.
    • Why don’t you ask God to reveal any idols which may be hidden or prominent in your life?

If you are serious about obeying God and going deeper in your relationship with Him, follow through in obedience to tear down any altars. Freedom is on the other side. Don’t let fear of changing or doing something different hold you back. Bondages will be lifted and joy will come.

One of the reasons that people identify with Gideon, we feel his pain and insecurity. When God invites us to follow Him in obedience, it presents a real challenge for us. And yet, Gideon made the right decision to follow God in obedience. That makes us equal. We too can choose to obey God daily. God moves freely through vessels who are committed to Him. May you walk in this freedom.

What altars will you tear down? Find some friends to help you follow God in radical obedience. You will be out of step from the rest of culture, but you might also position yourself to lead the captives free.

Blessing Love y’all

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