Gideon returned from battle with a ton of gold. Well, not literally. But you get the idea, right? What was he going to do with it? Ah-ha! Why not melt a few earrings gathered from his enemies and make them into an ephod?
Okay – I looked up the word ephod in a Bible dictionary. It’s simply a fancy term for coat. So, the gold was shaped into an outer garment that would have turned Wall Street green. Sadly, those who saw it did more than ooh and aah over it. Scripture says, “But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping it, and it became a trap for Gideon and his family” (Judges 8:27).
Yikes! The Israelites worshiped the silly thing, and it became a trap for Gideon and his family. How could this happen? They’d just accomplished a huge victory by defeating the Midianites in a supernatural way – obviously God was very much alive and working on their behalf. You’d think they’d be completely devoted to Him for being their defense and strength. But no…they worship an object made of gold instead.
Sometimes we scratch our heads at these OT stories and the ways in which the Israelites put their affections in the wrong place. But we do the same thing, don’t we? We spend our money on toys and clothes and creams and sparkly things rather than where it will build eternal value. We spend our time on making ourselves look good and smell pretty on the outside rather than on developing a beautiful heart. We spend our energy trying to establish an impressive resume or reputation rather establishing a relationship with God who has invested everything in us. We fall into a trap that affects not only ourselves, but our families and those within our sphere of influence.
I pray that God will guard my heart, and yours, from traps. I pray that we will live moment by moment in the awareness of what He’s done on our behalf through Jesus Christ, and that we will worship Him alone.