Here’s a question you may have asked yourself before:
“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?”
Some problems come with such a severity that one finds themselves asking such a question.
A while back, my family was facing a difficulty and one of my sisters had reached a point of despair. She was crying. “Have we been saved only to be shamed?” She asked. We needed relief fast but things only seemed to be getting worse rapidly.
I thought to myself: Behind every Google Map, there is a much more complex map that is the key to our queries but hidden from our view. It’s as if there is an invisible barrier between what we can see and what we can’t. This took me back to the book of Judges. It was a terrible time for the Israelites and the situation kept getting worse. So here was Gideon beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites, who whenever they came around, stole everything they could carry, and destroyed everything else. People lived in fear; they didn’t know what would happen next but they were sure it would be bad – yet they couldn’t see the real issue. There was the ‘Google Map’ but what was really behind this difficulty?
Behind the Trouble
The answer to that question is spelled out clearly in Judges 2:10-12 The people forgot and forsook God. Wait, there’s more… in His anger against Israel the Lord handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their surrounding enemies, whom they could no longer withstand… They were in terrible distress. Then the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hands of these plunderers. Yet they would not listen to their judges but whored after other gods and bowed down to them. (Judges 2:14-17)
Saint of God, perhaps you know from personal experience how it feels to have the forces of wickedness unleashed against you. You develop ‘survival tactics’ because you just want make it through another day. In Judges chapter 6, Gideon was doing exactly that. He was beating wheat in a winepress because if he did it in the right place the raiders would find him and take it all. He was just trying to survive. When the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said that God was with him – Gideon just couldn’t believe it. Things were so bad that he couldn’t see God anywhere.
13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” – Judges 6:13
God’s answer to Gideon’s complaint of how the enemy was wrecking their lives was simple; “…pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is besides it and build an altar to the Lord your God…” (Judges 6:25-26)
Still peering behind the ‘Google Map’, what this means is that sometimes trouble pursues and overtakes us because of strange and ungodly altars in our lives. Some altars maybe our own doing while others may have been erected by our parents as in the case of Gideon.
Tearing Down Your Father’s Altars
It suddenly dawned on me that when there is sin in the camp, unfortunately, everyone is affected – the saved and unsaved alike. It is the responsibility of those who love God, those who take Him seriously to ensure that God’s will prevails. Remember, in Joshua chapter 7, when Achan took some of the devoted things (from the fallen Jericho), the anger of the Lord burned against the people of Israel. Verse 1 says that the people of Israel broke faith in regard to the devoted things. They went to war and were defeated by their enemy. It was only after they had destroyed those things that they overcame their enemies. Going against God weakens a people and they become an easy target for the enemy.
When we begin to take God seriously He assures us of peace with Him, but we have work to do. Our first task is not to take on the external foe, but to deal with the enemy within.Gideon had to deal with anti-God evils right in his own home and family. His family had an altar to Baal, a pagan god of prosperity, and a pole for Asherah, a goddess of sex. Whoa! Isn’t it amazing how blind we can be to our own sins? How can we stand with lifted arms and tears in our eyes asking God why such bad things are happening to us, when right in our own homes the worship of God is mixed with idol worship and sexual perversion?! Until we have dealt with such wickedness in our own households, the enemy will continue to have a field day in our lives.
Things were going terribly wrong in our family, sin seemed rampant and God seemed several million miles away. People were desperate, emotions were running high and then like a scene from the book of Judges, God spoke, revealing the key to our queries. Like Gideon, we had take tear down our father’s altars and then build the proper kind of altar to the Lord. We couldn’t expect power from God to defeat enemies on the outside if we didn’t face the enemy within.
When you see sinful or demonic or ungodly things happening repeatedly in your life or family, it is more than likely that there’s an altar to the enemy present. You know what things plague you and if you’re tired of them, stop hiding in the winepress – come out and deal with them! Take time to break free from past patterns and practices of your family and community in order to be in tune with God. Break free from bowing down to idols (anything that has taken the place of God in your life)! Break free from spirits other than the Holy Spirit of God! If you’re afraid to be seen by unsaved friends and family members breaking those ungodly altars, then like Gideon, do so during the night. After all the Bible says that a man sowed his wheat and while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away (Matthew 13:25); but this time, you will be awake and ready when he comes. You will do well to arrest him in his tracks! He will not have a chance to sow discord in your life anymore!
We know that after Gideon obeyed God, in Judges chapter 7, God used him to bring victory to Israel – defeating the very Midianites that had earlier impoverished Israel. You may be the person that God wants to use to bring deliverance to your household. The enemy might have unleashed terror on your family but be encouraged in the Lord; keep looking up, for He has not abandoned you. The trouble you see today has an expiry date and no enemy is more powerful than the almighty God. God has not saved you to shame you for anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame (Romans 10:11). Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld.
Crushing invisible barriers and proclaiming liberty in Christ to the nations!