“Blessing” is a word that floats around the church like thousands of brightly colored balloons dropped from the ceiling of a party. They are everywhere. You hear people talking about “being blessed.” “That was a blessing; this really blessed me; blessing, blessing, blessing.” And it is true. Of all the people in the world, the Christ-follower is most blessed. We have a personal relationship with the God of the universe. We literally know Jesus Christ personally.
We are blessed with forgiveness of our sins. We are blessed by a prayer hearing and a prayer answering God – our Father. As it says in Romans 8:28,
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Ephesians 1:3 proclaims that followers of Jesus have it all when it comes to blessings.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
What a blessing!
But I’ve been thinking that we are so blessed we need to be on guard. It’s easy to fall into a dangerous trap – a trap we see sprung on the valiant warrior, Gideon.
Most of us know the story of Gideon recorded in Judges, chapters six through eight. The Lord gives him a miraculous blessing of victory from overwhelming odds and does it with just 300 men. Just as God tells every Christian of our victory over Satan as we “GO” into the world (Matthew 28:18-20), He tells Gideon of His blessings.
The Lord looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” He said to Him, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” But the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” Judges 6:14–16
For thousands of years the story of God’s blessing to Gideon being fulfilled by a wonderful, miraculous, and glorious victory has rung true in the lives of believers. But, most of us haven’t read the story through to its end. Most of us haven’t been warned about the trap that became a point of stumbling for Gideon and his nation.
After the miracle of victory, the Jewish people wanted to make Gideon their king. Gideon’s response was right on,
But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.” Judges 8:23
After this humble and correct statement of Biblical truth, Gideon tells the people that if they really want to express appreciation for him, they could give him a small offering of “an earring.” And Gideon was blessed by the people’s response with a fortune in gold.
Up to now everything in Gideon’s story has been good. He was a blessed man. But something happened next…
Gideon and the people of Israel began to focus on the blessing. In fact, in Judges 8:27, we read,
Gideon made it (the gold from the offering) into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household.
Gideon and the people thought it was all about the blessing and we find the chilling phrase, “it became a snare to Gideon and his household.” Now, there was nothing wrong with the blessing. God never told Gideon that he shouldn’t be rich or that he should not enjoy the gratitude of his people. But Gideon stumbled by focusing on the blessing.
Isn’t that a dangerous thing for us all? God blesses us with a good job to provide for our families and we focus on the job to the point where it becomes our god… our idol… our focus. And God is pushed aside.
He blesses us with food and it becomes a stumbling point of overeating. He blesses us with a great church and we become so focused on a busy church calendar we forget to spend time alone with the Lord… or don’t even take the time in the services to truly stop and worship the provider of all our blessings.
The Lord blesses us with relationships of spouse, children, and friends and we allow those relationships to replace the preeminent place God Himself should have in our lives.
Perhaps He’s even blessed us with spiritual gifts to serve the church and we become so excited about the gifts, so excited about the blessings, we forget God and put the emphasis of our lives on those gifts.
It’s so easy for us to focus on the blessings of God to the point that, like Gideon, it becomes a snare to us and to our households.
What is the answer? What will keep us from the trap? We must make a prayerful determination that our focus will center on and remain on the gracious, glorious, person of Jesus Christ – our Lord, our Savior, and the giver of all gifts.
Little children, guard yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21
Even when those idols began as blessings from God.
Think about it…