Caught in Our Own Stupidity

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, August 9, 2016 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, ‘Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.’” ~Judges 6:31

I love stories about attempted crimes that go wrong. In Findlay, just a few months back, someone tried to rob a Speedway gas station. The criminal did not notice the other people in the store with him and got mugged by the other customers. On YouTube, there is a video of a young man who attempted to rob a bank, but the security doors to the teller slammed in his face preventing him from being successful. He assumed that since the security system was activated, he was locked in the bank. He rammed the door with his shoulder until the glass door broke and he escaped. His escape would have been easier, had he read the sign on the door that said “Pull.”

But one of my favorite stories of a failed bank robbery I heard about when I was about 10 years old. A bank robber had devised a brilliant scheme to break into a bank through its skylight and rappel down into the bank. He successfully broke into the areas with the money and was ready to escape. One problem: the rope was no longer secured to the anchor point at the top of the skylight. The bank doors were locked and the robber was trapped inside. So, he decided to call the police to come and let him out of the bank. It really stinks when what we think the solution to our problem is actually ends up causing us more trouble.

Take the people of Ophrah in Judges. The people of Ophrah really missed the mark. First, they departed from God’s favor by honoring the pagan gods of the land. Next they set up altars, memorials, and other structures to honor the pagan gods. These two things alone resulted in the true God removing his favor from them and delivering them into the hands of their enemies. Then, after Gideon destroyed the altar of Baal and the Asherah pole that stood beside it, they wanted to kill Gideon. When they told Gideon’s father that they wanted to kill his son, he basically said, “You want to kill him because he tore down altars dedicated to false gods? You know that, according to our Law, you should be killed for even having them, right? And what do you think God thinks about this? Maybe you should ask your false god, Baal, to plead his own case.” I bet the deer in the headlights look existed long before headlights existed, because their only response could be a deer in the headlights look.

Some time ago, my family had a fairly good reason to miss church on a particular Sunday. I could tell that my wife, however, still wanted to go and it was possible that we could still make it work. There was only one problem – I didn’t want to go that Sunday! But my wife asked me, “What do you think we should do?” I was kind of hoping we would just stay home without her asking me that question. Instead, I grumbled out my response, “It’s my responsibility, as a man, to make sure my family goes to church.” Then my wife asked, “You are saying you don’t want to go?” I said, “Oh yeah.” We went, but it was a gut check moment. What’s more important? Putting up with a minor inconvenience for a short while so that we could go to church, or succumb to the minor inconvenience entirely and miss an opportunity to worship with other believers? I think the right choice was obvious. The Ophrahites knew what the right choice was, as well. That’s why they spared Gideon.

Let’s be honest, none of us are perfect all of the time. We put things, stupid things, before God way too often. It’s moments like the one the people of Ophrah faced where they were confronted with what they had been doing and forced to make a decision: “Do we honor God or do we continue to play make-believe?” Are you playing make-believe in your life? Is there an area that you have not fully surrendered to God? If so, pray about it and share your struggle with a friend who will hear you out. I’m not guaranteeing that you will not have a deer in the headlights moment, but sometimes we need those.

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