Do you ever surprise yourself with how quickly you can drop from spiritual high to spiritual low? I do.
Just yesterday, as I was returning home from Christ Community Church, I was ruminating on the many evidences of God’s presence in our weekend services. I was humming one of the worship songs that we’d sung. I was thanking God for the opportunities I’d had to pray, one-on-one, with a number of people. God is so good!
But then I pulled up at a red light, where the side road I was travelling on intersects with a major highway. It seems like I’ve spent half my life at that light — waiting for the green turn arrow, so that I can conclude the final mile of my journey home.
When the arrow finally came (after I finished reading War and Peace), I was the fourth car in line, with a long string of cars behind me. The first two cars sailed through the light, but the guy ahead of me didn’t budge. Didn’t he see that it was green? Had he suddenly realized that he wasn’t supposed to be in the left turn lane? Did he have any idea how many cars he was holding up — and that we’d all have to wait another week and a half if the light turned red?
A couple of short toots on my horn (honest, they were short) didn’t rouse him. And so I angrily pulled around him, barely making it through the intersection before the green arrow disappeared. Stomping on my accelerator to make up for lost time, I muttered something about what an idiot this stalled driver was.
And then it struck me. How quickly I’d gone from praising to cursing. From stellar to cellar.
Did a similar drop in Gideon’s spiritual life catch your attention as you read today’s Scripture passage in Judges 8? One of the observations to make whenever you’re reading the Bible is to look for something striking.
(Note: The Scripture Union daily Bible reading schedule will take you through God’s Word at a sane pace — once through the Old Testament and twice through the New Testament every five years. The beginning of the fall season, as kids are returning to school, is a good time to break in the new habit of daily reading God’s Word.)
Gideon had just finished rescuing Israel from the Midianites. When the grateful people tried to reward him by making him their ruler, Gideon very astutely redirected their adulation to God: “I will not rule over you … The LORD will rule over you” (Judges 8:23). What humility! What wisdom! The guy was on a spiritual roll. Were you impressed with Gideon when you read that?
Were you equally shocked when, in the very next verses, Gideon asked the people to give him some of their gold spoils from the war, and then fashioned this booty into an idol that everyone worshiped (v.27)? I was! I even remarked, out loud: “NO!!!”
The SU study guide had this to say about Gideon’s stellar-to-cellar move: “That one act of self-indulgence was a hook that Satan used … What a dangerous error it is to assume that our virtues have eradicated our vices. The fight against idolatry (or any sin, for that matter) goes on until we die.”
So, one of my observations from today’s Bible reading (the O of the COMA Bible study method that I coach in this blog), was Gideon’s abrupt plummet from spiritual high to spiritual low. And the message (the M in COMA) was: “Be ever vigilant.” This is especially applicable after a heart-warming spiritual experience — like the weekend services at CCC.
The enemy of my soul never takes time off (nor does my flesh, for that matter). If I am not on my guard, I can quickly go from stellar to cellar, spiritually speaking.