GEMS FROM THE OLD TESTAMENT
Anyone familiar with the DIY Network has heard of Chip and Joanna Gaines. They are the married couple from Waco, Texas who find and “fix up” older houses for clients. The process includes demolition, “demo day”—loved by Chip—followed by renovation and refurnishing. A common response by many of the delighted clients in seeing their fixer upper is at least one profane, “OMG!”
Even more famous in Christian eyes is Gideon, the hesitant judge of ancient Israel, and the only judge personally called by God. His mandate was to clean out the Midianites—an enemy who had been a sliver in the hand of Israel for years. And that Gideon did, with but three hundred men armed only with trumpets and torches.
But before that happened, Gideon was given a smaller fixer-upper project—one which involved his own family (Judges 6:11-27). Demo day was the first order of business. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon in a way similar to His appearance to Moses, and instructed Gideon to smash up the Baal altar and tear down the sacred pole dedicated to Asherah, which had been built by Gideon’s own father, Joash. With ten willing men, their “demolition day” was a resounding success, as the altar stones were scattered and the Asherah pole chopped into kindling.
Next came the renovation, as a new altar was built to the true God.
And finally the refurnishing. Gideon was instructed to take his father’s best breeding bull, and offer it up as a burnt offering to the Lord on the newly constructed altar. Indeed, this was something special, for the aroma of this sacrifice was to the Lord a sweet-smelling savor. For Gideon it was a sign of repentance, a confession of faith in the mighty God Who would give him victory over the Midianites, and in the gracious God Who, in the promised Christ, would freely forgive all sins. We can only hope that there were many “Oh My Gods” uttered in the following days, not as a profane expression of astonishment, but in thanksgiving, praise, and glory to God’s saving name.
Are we in need of our own fixer-upper project? Are there any secret idols still standing only half demolished in our hearts? Still any Baal altars or Asherah poles of lust, pride, selfishness, or other pet sins still hanging around like bad wallpaper?
Then it’s time for demo day. Pray the Spirit for strength to smash, tear down, and remove for good out of your life that which displeases God and affects your own faith and the beauty of your temple-house. As Jesus Himself twice cleansed His Father’s house in Jerusalem, so clean out your own house as a fitting and holy temple for the Spirit of God. Inspect daily for the termites of self-righteousness which can bore out a soul.
Then rebuild and renovate, using only the true and solid Rock of Christ Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone. Continue building on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, and the divine Word which proceeded out of their mouths.
And then refurnish. With a new heart and Gideon-like attitude, offer up the sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. With daily repentance check for any trappings that might lead you away from your Savior and throw them into the dumpster. Redecorate your life with a pattern of behavior and good works that are well pleasing to the Lord as they are done out of love and according to His will. Nail your commitment to the rafters and glue it to the floor joints. Let your life be a daily OMG: “Oh My great and gracious God; You have chosen me as Your fixer-upper. I am the workmanship of Your hand. Forgive my sins and make me holy and beautiful in Your love and give me strength and zeal to continuously glorify Your name.”
David Fuerstenau is pastor of Holy Truth Lutheran Church in Ketchikan, Alaska.