When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The LORD has given the Midianite camp into your hands. (Judges 7:15 NIV)
Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family. (Judges 8:27 NIV)
The first scripture comes in the middle of the story of Gideon conquering an army of 120,000 with a band of 300 men. That’s not true. God conquers the army of Midian. When Gideon hears what God has planned his response is one we should imitate. He immediately bows down and worships the God who is going to bring victory. Gideon stays focused on God until the victory is won and peace comes over the land.
Victories are worthy of celebration. When we are celebrating what God has done praise and worship are good ways to celebrate. Gideon didn’t choose either of those options. He led the people to take their eyes off God and turned it to the spoils that had been taken during the battle. He made a golden ephod or image that became an object of worship. Rather than bowing to God, the people would come to Gideon’s town and bow down to the golden ephod. The people turned away from God while Gideon and his family became proud of what they possessed and turned away from God.
It all happened so quickly. Israel did experience 40 years of peace after the conquest of the Midianites, but they very quickly returned to the practices that had gotten them into trouble with God. It is easy to be critical. Unfortunately, we still struggle with the same basic issue. When bad things happen, we find it easy to blame God. When good things happen, we find it easy to give credit to anyone or anything but God. We quickly take a blessing and turn it into an idol that we bow down to and worship.
I find it essential every day to be intentional about taking some time to recognize that it is God and only God who is worthy of my worship. Allowing anything or anyone else to take control of my life will not turn out well.
For my grandchildren:
Worship only God.