by Steven Norris
So, another thought that didn’t make it into this past Sunday;s sermon on the call of Gideon (Judges 6-7). Remember, these are initial reflections and are not fully developed, but I pray that you may find something that sparks your imagination and deeper engagement.
The story of Gideon gives frequent allusions to other characters found in the Hebrew Bible. Some of these are obvious (Moses, Elijah, etc.) but some are not. It is common to find in the Hebrew Bible that when a person had a significant encounter with God, they would set up some kind of monument or altar to remember the experience. Abraham set up more than one altar (Genesis 12:7, 8; 13:18). Isaac set up an altar (Genesis 26:23-25). Jacob set up a pillar (Genesis 28:18-19). These were important places of remembrance, places that they could return to over and over again to remember the Divine Presence and to reaffirm the Divine Call on their lives.
Gideon turns the stone where his offering was consumed into an altar for the Lord. The flames that had consumed the bread and the meat had no doubt marked the stone in a real and tangible way. It had been a confirmation for Gideon of God’s Divine Call, so it became an altar – a place he could return to in times of doubt and discouragement; a place where he could remember when the call was clear and undeniable.
You see, it’s not enough to just tear down pagan altars. We need to build altars to the Lord. We need to stake out those places where we have heard the voice of God clearly and have been changed by God’s call on our lives. I wonder, where are the altars in your life? Where are the holy spaces where you’ve heard God clearest? How have you set up a memorial to remind you of that call and comfort you in times of doubt and struggle?
originally posted at www.stevennorris.com
by Steven Norris
So, this past Sunday I preached on the call of Gideon (Judges 6-7). It is such a rich story and we had only a short amount of time to spend on it, so I thought I would share a few of my additional thoughts and insights here. Obviously, they are merely initial reflections and are not fully developed, but I pray that you may find something that will further your reflection on, and interaction with, the scripture.
God had called Gideon to deliver the Israelites from the oppression of the Midianites. According to the scripture, this oppression had come as a result Israel’s disobedience and worship of other gods. Therefore, Gideon’s first step was to tear down the altar to Baal and the Asherah that were right there in his father’s field. To fulfill God’s call in our lives begins with removing all the other distractions that compete for our allegiance.
I would venture to bet that there are not many of us who have stone altars in our backyards to pagan deities, but we do have idols. We have things that hold us back and keep us from giving ourselves fully to God. We have things that consume our time, energy, attention, thoughts, money, and resources. There are things that bring anxiety and fear. These may not be bad things, necessarily, but if they are keeping us from fulfilling God’s call for us, they may qualify as idols. Look at your own life. What idols need to get torn down so that you can fulfill God’s call for you with whole-hearted abandon?
Ecclesia Writer's Consortium
We are blessed at Ecclesia to have a number of gifted writers and teachers. Here, you'll find devotions, meditations, and musings from a sample of those writers.