REDEMPTIVE DISRUPTION

Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under
the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash
the Abiezrite, as his son Gideon was beating
out wheat in the wine press, to hide it from
the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord
appeared to him and said to him, "The Lord is
with you, you mighty man of valor." And
Gideon said to him, "Pray, sir, if the Lord
is with us, why then has all this befallen us?
And where are all his wonderful deeds which
our fathers recounted to us, saying, 'Did not
the
Lord bring us up from
Egypt?'   But now
the Lord has cast us off, and given us into
the hand of Midian." And the Lord turned to
him and said, "Go in this might of yours and
deliver
Israel from the hand of Midian; do
not I send you?" And he said to him, "Pray
Lord, how can I deliver Israel? Behold, my
clan is the weakest in
Manasseh, and I am the
least in my family." And the Lord said to
him, "But I will be with you, and you shall
smite the Midianites as one man."

Judges 6:11-16

 

That night the Lord said to him, "Take your
father's bull, the second bull seven years old,
and pull down the altar of Baal which your
father
has, and cut down the Asherah that is
beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your
God on the top of the
stronghold here, with
stones laid in due order; then take the second
bull, and offer it as a burnt offering with the
wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.
So
Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did
as the Lord has told him; but because he was

too afraid of his family and the men of the town
to do it by day, he did it by night.

 

When the men of the town rose early in the morning,

behold, the altar of Baal was broken-down, and the

Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull

was offered upon the altar which had been built. And

they said to one another, "Who has done this thing?"

And after they had made search and inquired, they
said, "
Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing."

Judges 6:25-29

 

Gideon went on to break the grip of the Midianites over the

Israelite people by the power of the Lord. "I will be with you,

and you shall smite the Midianites as one man,"

 

-and he did.

 

But the turning point for Gideon, the event that
transformed him from a cynical onlooker into a man
radically committed to the purpose of God, was the
night
Gideon used his father's bull to tear down
his father's altar to Baal. Then he cut down the
Asherah, the wooden idol which was the female
counterpart of Baal. Then he built an altar to the Lord

on top of the mess and using the wood of the idol

goddess for the fire, sacrificed his father's bull.

By morning the whole place was in an uproar.

And Gideon, to his own amazement, found himself

taking a public, uncompromising stand for the Lord.

 

When God calls us to serve his kingdom his call usually

Begins with a sign of mercy....some clear evidence that

he had put his hand upon us for blessing.  But he always

follows the sigh of blessing with a command to pull down

the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah which is beside

it and build an altar to him.  He calls us to do some specific

thing that will disrupt our lives to the extent that it puts us

clearly and uncompromisingly on the side of his kingdom

and against the kingdom of Satan with his Baal and

Asherah, his idols of power and lust.
 

That's what baptism is, a public renunciation of the
kingdom of Satan and a public commitment to the Lamb of
God ...    to his death,

  to his resurrection,

  to his obedience.

Pretty soon we're given opportunities to prove that we did

renounce Satan, that we did commit ourselves to the Lamb.

 

 "Do you think that I have come to give peace
on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division;

  for henceforth in one house there will
be five divided, three against two and two
against three; they will be divided, father
against son and son against father, mother
against daughter and daughter against her
mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-
in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-
in-law."                       Luke
12:51-53

 

He's talking about the disruption that comes when those
who answer his call pull down the altar of Baal and cut
down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to
the Lord on top of the mess and start serving God.

 

If we're not prepared to be committed to this extent,
we'll waste our whole lives in the twilight zone of
indecision.

 

- We'll whimper against evil but we'll never
do anything to overcome it.

- We'll say, "Lord, Lord," but we'll never
do the things he commands.

 

"Oh, but how can you talk like that? You're making it
sound as though nothing is going on right now. Yet we
see evidence all around us, and in this place week-
after-week, that God is moving, we are
being stirred....
something awesome is taking place before our eyes."

 

Granted, there is a moving of the Holy Spirit taking
place before our eyes. And what we see here is
happening in many other places...the scope of this
thing is worldwide. But this visitation of the Holy
Spirit to the church at this hour will not automatically

bring lasting results. The results depend on how we

respond to the Spirit. Many many times over the

centuries the Spirit of God has paid a visit to a people.

 

- There was an unusual stirring of life.
- There were visions and revelations and miracles.

- Crowds came together and tasted the joy
of heaven....

 

then the thing died away and everything returned to
just what it was before ..... death.   And the reason
nothing changed was because the people who were
visited by the Spirit, for all their apparent enthusiasm,

didn't allow anything to change. It was as if the Spirit

washed over them and it felt good. But the Spirit never

got into them because no one allowed him to get into

them. They didn't allow themselves to be disrupted.

 

When the Spirit said, "Pull down the
altar of Baal, cut down the Asherah
which is beside it, build an altar to
the Lord," nobody moved.

 

When the Spirit said, "Open your mouth

and take a stand for the Lord," nobody spoke.

 

On Palm Sunday the whole city of Jerusalem was stirred

with life... It looked like a revival. Prophecy was on everyone's lips.

 

"Hosannah to the Son of David. Blessed is
he who comes in the name of the Lord."

 

But it didnít last a week. Because no one allowed
himself to be disrupted.

 

A visitation of the Holy Spirit becomes a genuine
revival only when we respond to the Spirit's command
to pull down the altar of Baal, cut down the Asherah
and build an altar to the Lord.

 

1.      We need to pull down the altar of Baal, which means
a clear break with the god of this world.

 

When Satan took Jesus up on a high mountain and offered
him all the kingdoms of the world if he would just bow
down and worship him,
Jesus never denied that Satan had
those kingdoms in his grip. He simply refused to
worship him. He set himself clearly against
Satan and
started walking toward the cross where he would overcome
Satan. And there needs to be in our lives an equally
clear break with the spirit of deceit, better known as
Satan, that holds this world in bondage, so that we no
longer accept the idea that we might as well go through
our lives,

- breathing this deceitful air,

- coveting these deceitful riches,

- lusting after these deceitful pleasures.


"After all, that altar to Baal was sitting on this hill

since the days of my earliest forefathers ...everybody's

used to it.   Why should I make a scene?"

 

But the Lord says,
"Pull it down!"


Break with it! Take a stand against it! Expose the
deceit for what it is!

 

2.      We need to cut down the Asherah.

 

The Asherah was the female counterpart of Baal. It was
the goddess that promised to nourish and satisfy.

We may not have those wooden idols standing on every
high hill, but the spirit behind the Asherah is as strong as

ever. The spirit that urges us to be obsessed with our

own comfort and pleasure and security to the point

where that's all our life is. To cut down the Asherah

is to renounce our preoccupation with our own comfort,

pleasure and security. We've been so obsessed with

these things we're dead. So, we renounce them.

We proclaim to ourselves, to each other and to the

world that the life of God, the life God wants us to have

now, is much greater than any comfort or pleasure or
security that this world offers.

 

3.    We need to build an altar to the Lord , which

     means a clear , open , unashamed commitment to Jesus

 

When day broke, the town saw that the altar of Baal

was gone, the Asherah was gone, and in their place

was an altar to the Lord, still burning with Gideon's sacrifice.

Now they knew where Gideon stood.

Do they know where we stand? We're building an altar

to the Lord when we start obeying Jesus with total trust.

 

-    He commands us to be pure .... so we stop
 arguing about how pure, and do it, trusting
 that he'll give us the power to be pure.

 

-      He commands us to love our enemies .... so
we quit haggling over which enemies or
with what exceptions, and do it, trusting
that he'll give us the power to love our
enemies.

 

To build an altar to the Lord is to start obeying
Jesus with total trust and to confess Jesus to each
other and to the world with unashamed boldness.

 

That altar of Gideon's was a bold statement.

 

What kind of statement are we making with our lives?...

         and with our mouths?

 

When the world hears from us consistently, day-in-and-day-out,

in all we do and say, that Jesus is Lord they will see Gideon's altar

and they will know that God is speaking to them.

 

When the men of the town rose early in the
morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken
down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down,
and the second bull was offered upon the
altar which had been built. And they said
to one another, "Who has done this thing?"
And after they had made search and inquired,
they said, "
Gideon the son of Joash has done
this thing."                             Judges 6:28-29

 

This was the turning point for Gideon.... it will be the
turning point for us.

The call is on us now to pull down the altar of Baal,
cut down the Asherah, and build an altar to the Lord,

  

          - to openly take a stand against the evil
             within us and around us,

 

to openly take a stand at the cross of Jesus,
   even if it means the loss of everything we
   have including our life.

 

Are we ready to take that stand? If the answer is yes,
then let's say, "Yes," in some clear way right now.