Tuesday, January 14, 2014

"Cut Down Your Grove"

"And it came to pass the same night, that the Lord said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it: And build an altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down." Judges 6:25,26
The children of Israel were living in sin against the Lord-- they were serving Baal and other gods. Because of this sin against God they were living under the oppression of the Midianites. They cried to God for deliverance and He raised up Gideon to deliver them. 
One of the things the Lord told Gideon to do was destroy the high places and groves that his father had built. These were places of worship to these false gods. As I thought about these groves three things came to mind. 
First, we see the answer to how we turn from God and get cold in our relationship with Him. These groves didn't just appear, someone had to build them. It took some time and effort to build them. When we turn from God and get cold in our walk with Him, it didn't just happen in an instant. It is a process. It started with missing one day of prayer, going a day without reading our Bible, missing a church service, watching a program we shouldn't watch. Then it becomes two days, then three days. Pretty soon, because of neglect of the things of God and attention to our own desires, we have built a "grove" and established an "altar" to something other than God in our lives-- self. 
Secondly, we see our answer on how to come back to that relationship with God that we once had. It happens by "tearing the grove down". It always takes longer to build a "grove" to the flesh-- it doesn't just happen overnight-- than it takes to reestablish one to God. It took Gideon's father some time to build the grove, but it only took Gideon one night to destroy it. How do we destroy it? By repentance. We turn to God and repent of our neglect of Him and worship of the flesh. When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We are instantly brought back into right relationship with Him. 
Thirdly, once we have repented, we don't just tear down the "grove", we must rebuild the altar of God in its place. How do we do this? "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works." (Revelation 2:5) Make God your priority, seek Him first, do the first works, don't follow the lust of your flesh, give attention to reading the word of God, praying, praise, worship and His house.
Have you turned from the Lord? Is there a grove and altar to your flesh that you are worshipping at in your life? Repent today and turn back to the Lord and reestablish your relationship with Him-- and worship Him only.
Have a great day. If you have turned from God and are worshipping something besides Him, tear down that altar and turn back to worshipping Him.
For further reading:
1 John 1:9
Judges 6
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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell
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