Faithlife Sermons

Irrational Idolatry (Judges 6:25-32)

Judges  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 16 views
Notes
Transcript
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

INTRO

David Livingstone, a British missionary, died on May 1, 1873, in a village in Zambia. His heart was removed by his loyal attendants and buried there under a tree before they departed for the coast carrying his body.
His body was buried in the Westminster Abbey in London, where he was born, but his heart is buried in Zambia, which he loved.
If your heart was buried where you most loved, where would it be? In your bank account, your possessions, your car, your business, your passions?
Idolatry runs rampant in our world and probably even in your heart. The problem is that we are replacing the One True God with something or someone else. In the end, who do you want to stand before in judgment—the Lord God or something you’ve idolized? An idol will master you now and leave you helpless and alone in the end. So we must know how to recognize it and we must know why it might feel right to idolize something but it is wrong thinking.
As we move on in our study of Judges, this passage addresses idolatry in a powerful way as we see God’s response to it. As you are open to , want to talk about the irrationality of idolatry. Irrational idolatry.
I’ll speak on two main points from this passage to show the irrationality of idolatry— 1) God Alone is the Almighty; 2) God Defends His Glory.

God Alone is the Almighty

Let’s recap what’s happening with Gideon here. We know that pagan worship had infiltrated the Israelites because we have evidence of worship of Baal and an Asherah pole here within Gideon’s own family and in his town.
Baal: The chief god of the Canaanites. As the storm god and bringer of rain, Baal was recognized as sustaining the fertility of crops, animals, and people.
Baal: The chief god of the Canaanites. As the storm god and bringer of rain, Baal was recognized as sustaining the fertility of crops, animals, and people.
We know that Baal worship already existed in the time of the judges (2:12-14), so this Canaanite religion was somewhat prevalent throughout the Israelites then.
Asherah: name of a Canaanite fertility goddess and the wooden poles that symbolized her. Its thought that the wooden poles represented her presence wherever they were placed. Sometimes, like here, it was placed with an altar of Baal.
Gideon just had an incredible moment with the Lord where he came to understand the character of God again through an incredible experience with the Angel of the Lord. He knew God afresh as The Lord is Peace.
He had a little revival! And he knew that God was raising him up to save Israel from the oppression of Midian. The very night of that day Gideon put up the altar to the Lord is Peace, God gives him his first instruction. And note that it is not a war plan; it’s a worship plan. Priorities! If Israel really wants freedom, they need to start looking to the Lord and not these false idols.
As we talk about idols today, it is important to start right here and acknowledge that you must get your priorities right in order to be at peace with the Lord. You can cry out to him when you’re in difficult moments, like the Israelites were doing, but if you have a desire to know the Lord and truly find peace in Him, but you’re still holding on to different idols in your life and putting them in the place of God and looking to them for satisfaction, it’s going to be very difficult to see the Lord for who He is and who He needs to be in your life.
As the storm god and bringer of rain, Baal was recognized as sustaining the fertility of crops, animals, and people.
Gideon is commanded to get two bulls, one his father’s, and the other one to be 7 years old. And he is to go pull down the altar to Baal in his town with that bull. Do you know that a bull was how Baal was often depicted? There’s some irony in God’s command. Go pull down their god, that probably was shaped like a bull, with a real bull.
And beyond that, cut down the Asherah that is beside it. Then replace it with an altar to the Lord, “with stones laid in due order”—meaning build it well.
Then God keeps going—take the wood from that Asherah pole that’ll be laying there and use it as the fuel for a sacrifice to the Lord using that second bull.
Gideon does it. Fearfully, but he does it. V.27, he’s fearful of his own family and the townsmen, so he goes at night with 10 servants. He gets it done.
Stronghold/top of this rock: “place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold.” (James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon)
But notice something else: this was done on the stronghold or top of the rock-- Baal worship was often done in the “high places” —almost like Baal is the highest, most powerful.
Gideon is to restore God to his rightful place to the Israelites. God alone is the Almighty. There is none like Him!
To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.” (, ESV)
know therefore today, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other.” (, ESV)
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” (, ESV)
And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (, ESV)
And you might be agreeing with me right now. God Almighty is one of those phrases that anyone who has grown up in church has heard. It’s one of those titles that should naturally elicit an AMEN from any Christian. Because we know the Bible declares it and it is true.
Why, then, is idolatry so prevalent among us?
A men’s retreat, this topic came up, and a man there was quick to say I don’t have any idols. He thought we were talking about literal statues or figures that we would bow down to and pray. But idolatry could be simply defined as trusting, serving, or giving worship to something that is not God.
This could be a number of things, even good things—when a good thing becomes a god thing, that’s a bad thing. Our desire, attention, focus should be on the Lord. It’s even easy for Christians who appear to be doing the right things to do it with an idolatrous attitude unknowingly perhaps. Let me share a quote from Puritan minister David Brainerd (1718-1747) to be reflective and edifying for all of us, even those of you right now who think you’re doing just fine in the idolatry category:
David Brainerd (1718-1747, Puritan minister) wrote,
“If the heart be directly and chiefly fixed on God, and the soul engaged to glorify him, some degree of religious affection will be the effect and attendant of it. But to seek after affection directly and chiefly, to have the heart principally set upon that, is to place it in the room of God and his glory. If it be sought, that others may take notice and admire us for our spirituality and forwardness in religion, it is then abominable pride: if for the sake of feeling the pleasure of being affected, it is then idolatry and self-gratification.” (Elliot Ritzema and Elizabeth Vince, eds., 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans, Pastorum Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013).)
Elliot Ritzema and Elizabeth Vince, eds., 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans, Pastorum Series (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2013).
300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans Fixing on God for God’s Sake

If the heart be directly and chiefly fixed on God, and the soul engaged to glorify him, some degree of religious affection will be the effect and attendant of it. But to seek after affection directly and chiefly, to have the heart principally set upon that, is to place it in the room of God and his glory. If it be sought, that others may take notice and admire us for our spirituality and forwardness in religion, it is then abominable pride: if for the sake of feeling the pleasure of being affected, it is then idolatry and self-gratification.

God is Almighty! Yet every person is inclined to put something else in his place at the highest point of our lives. But idolatry is irrational.
When we think about idolatry, think about comfort. Let me explain— v.26: Gideon was to remove the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole and replace it with an altar to the Lord, and this was at the top of the mound/rock (CSB, KJV, NKJV, HCSB); stronghold (ESV, NASB). The Hebrew word used here means “place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold” (#4581; James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon).
place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold
James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon
Whatever you idolize in your life is like a place of comfort for you; you feel safe there; protected; it’s a stronghold. But what God was showing through Gideon was that whatever that stronghold is in your life can be removed; then, you realize that its not the ultimate power in your life. There is something greater. In fact, there is someone greater.
Whatever you put up in your life as that place of solace, strength, and safety, is nothing compared to what the Almighty God can be in your life.
There is something greater. In fact, there is someone greater. whatever you put up in your life as that place of solace, strength, and safety, is nothing compared to we’ll see about idols is that
Transition: So we have seen that God is Almighty One who deserves the position in the high place of your life. Let’s continue to see how idolatry is irrational now by understanding our last main point, that...

God Defends His Glory

The men of the town went on a search to find who tore down their altars. By the way, this shows the spiritual condition of the Israelites at this time. Who replaced our idols with God?
Can you imagine if someone came into church and said that? Why are you trying to replace my vehicles with God? Why are you trying to replace my traditions with God? Why are you trying to replace football with God?
The Super Bowl was just last week. I still vividly remember when I was a boy going to our Sunday night worship service on the night of the Super Bowl. In those days, our choir would sing on Sunday nights even, and one man was sitting in the choir loft and if you looked close enough, there was a wire running down behind his ear down into his shirt. Later, we learned that he had a walkman in his pocket, listening to his beloved Cowboys try to win the Super Bowl!!
Who did this? The men in town investigate and figure out that it was Gideon. They go to his father, Joash, and demand Gideon’s death. I’d say they’re pretty upset!
Joash’s response is really the crux of this message. Look at the 2 questions he asks in v.31: will you plead Baal’s case for him? Will you save him?
In other words, your god needs you to defend him. Some god that is. Are you mightier than your god?
Your god needs you to save him. The word for “save” here is the same word that is used for the activity of the Judges saving Israel.
This is completely irrational. Irrational means, “deprived of reason.” There’s no reason for a created being to defend or save his god.
We’ve already seen God replace the priority of worship by having Gideon set up a proper altar to him in the place of Baal and the Asherah pole, so let’s look at what we would learn about God in this passage.
God is not like these false gods—He will defend his own glory. He will defend his own supremacy. He doesn’t need us to do that. He doesn’t need us to save him. We are told in Scripture to defend or give a reason for the hope we have. But we don’t have to defend God, because He will defend himself in the end. His supremacy will be fully seen and understood by all when they have to stand before Him in judgment. The problem is that for some, it will be too late at that point.
His supremacy and might are visible everyday by the many actions of God throughout his creation. But tells us that people are blind to this because “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (, ESV)
Why? Because of idolatry. And idolatry reveals depravity. If you have to defend and rescue something important in your life, then it might lord over you, but it’s not God.
The One True, Almighty God defends his own glory and will be victorious. Listen to , maybe one of the passages that says this best:
(ESV)
9“For my name’s sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off.
10Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
11For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
Does God have his rightful place in your life? He is the Lord, He is supreme, whether you want it or not. It’s a matter of if you’re willing to humble yourself before him and submit yourself to His will.
Related Media
Related Sermons