«The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light» (Romans 13: 12).
DO YOU KNOW what important victory the Old Testament refers to when it speaks of «the slaughter of Midian» (Isaiah 10:26)?
«The slaughter of Midian,» also known as «the day of Midian,» refers to the battle in which Gideon and his three hundred men, armed with empty pitchers and burning torches (Judges 7:16), prevailed over an army of 135,000 Midianites who were heavily armed and had as many camels «as the sand by the seashore in multitude» (Judges 7:12). No wonder this day is remembered as one of the most glorious pages in the history of God’s people!
Nevertheless, what’s not remembered very well is how everything began. Two significant details stand out. First, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and gave him a mission: «Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?» (Judges 6:14). Second, he gave him a command: «Tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it» (Judges 6:25).
Do you see the sequence? God gave Gideon a mission, that of freeing His people from the Midianite yoke, but before fulfilling the divine assignment, Gideon first had to tear down the altar to Baal. In other words, in order to receive God’s blessing, the idols had to be destroyed first.
Is there not a beautiful lesson here for all of us, especially at the beginning of this new year? No matter how many good resolutions we have made to boost our spiritual growth, they will be of no use to us as long as we cherish some sin or as long as there are idols in our lives that prevent us from completely surrendering our hearts to God.
Now, the second lesson. According to the angel’s message, not only did Gideon have to tear down the altar to Baal, but he also had to build an altar to the Lord in its place (see Judges 6:26). The message is clear: it’s not enough to destroy the idols in our lives; on their ruins, we have to raise an altar to the one true God in our hearts! In other words, first destruction, then consecration.
What idols are there right now in our lives that prevent us from fully consecrating ourselves to God?
Holy Spirit, please give me the strength to expel the idols that have secretly settle in my heart, to consecrate my life to the one true God.