“Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.” Then Gideon said to them, “I would like to make a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings from his plunder.” For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites. So they answered, “We will gladly give them.” And they spread out a garment, and each man threw into it the earrings from his plunder. Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels’ necks. Then Gideon made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, Ophrah. And all Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house.”
Judges 8:22-27 NKJV
One of the great dangers of being used by God, is the potential to begin to forget what the Lord has done and to begin to believe more of one’s self than one ought. In the beginning of may own walk, the Lord blessed me with quick spiritual growth, building in me a desire to understand the word of God, and a recognition and remembrance of who I used to be when the Lord Jesus saved me.
Spiritual pride welled up in me, anyway, and I began to look on al that I had accomplished as proof that I was somehow deserving of the this great salvation. It is in those moments when the Lord would instruct me, by way of consequence, that I was only a lost sinner, won by His grace.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV
Gideon had been used mightily by God to bring victory to the children of Israel. He had risen from the least, to the greatest according to the will of the Lord. He was in was in great danger, being used by the Lord, as there is potential for the servant to forget the power that guiders them.
One can forget that it is the Lord who raises upon, and the Lord who takes down.
Gideon had moved from hiding in a winepress, threshing the wheat in secret, to being drafted to lead. He rightly told the people that the Lord would rule over them, but then decided that he wanted the spoils for himself. In the worst of all moments, he sought to take on holy significance, fashioning his own ephod.
In a New Testament context, many seek to elevate preachers and bible teachers to a sort of godhood, heaping worship upon them and endorsing whatever they say or do. So many men of God, who began as solid leaders, became corrupted, and have led many to calamity. I think of Jim Jones as one.
Christian history is rife with stories of humble people, anointed by God and raised up to lead His people in spiritual battle. There also stories of those same leaders, having made it to the mountain top, only to forget that what the Lord has done. They begin to bask in their own glory, causing their congregations to play the harlot with false doctrine.
More often than not, they begin to make their own ephods of sort, twisting the word of God for their own purposes, to build up crowds that feed their egos and fill their coffers. Oh the temptation to name names. Im have many dear friends who have gone after these teacher and preachers and I wish not to offend.
“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”
Acts 20:28-30 NKJV
Brothers and sisters, especially you who have been commissioned to be in leadership, you are the guardians of your congregations. Be careful. There are many seducing spirits about that are looking to draw you away from your duty station.
Savage wolves to not start out as such, but become so as they are seduced. Those of you in the pews, I exhort you to be in the word, searching it as good Bereans, knowing the truth of God for yourselves. We are in a time when there are many false teachers.
Pastors and teachers and those who have been raised to significance. Remember that it is the Lord who has given you what you have, and not you alone. I have been blessed with many “thorns in the flesh”, which have kept me humble. He has covered any pedestals anyone would want to put me on with barbed wire, ensuring that I do not stay there long.
“It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—”
II Corinthians 12:1-3 NKJV
“And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.”
II Corinthians 12:7 NKJV
Pray for those in leadership, that they remain faithful and humble, as they live out their ministries. The time is short and we have little time. The evil is working overtime to seduce and corrupt those entrusted with the leadership of God’s people.
May we have the heart of Paul, calling out to God in his infirmities, knowing the Lord’s grace is sufficient.
“Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
II Corinthians 12:8-10 NKJV
Have a fabulous Friday!