American Idols


Follower and Believer of Christ
That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one might say, “See this, it is new”? Already it has existed for ages which were before us.” Ecclesiastes 1:9-10

It was a long, fearful night for Gideon. As he crept through the woods that night, he knew that the task that was before him was a dangerous one. God had commanded Gideon to tear down his family’s altar and shrine, and replace it with an altar to the Lord God. His family, and the people of the town were committed to Baal and Asherah. They were obsessed with the practices of immorality and perversion that came from the ritual worship of these false idols.

As he led his servants to tear down the altar to Baal, and the Asherah pole that stood beside it, their spirit must have felt the evil that permeated from the area. But they were obedient to the Lord. They tore down the idol structures that night, and as the people of the town woke up the next morning, they saw standing in its’ place an altar to the Lord.

We all know the story of Gideon. His courage as a leader was without question. We know the story of how he led three hundred men against a force of one hundred, twenty thousand Midianites, with the Lord driving the Midianites back beyond the Jordan River. Israel was returned to God’s favor, and peace was found in the land for forty years. Forty years of peace was an extraordinary period of time for that day.

Soon after Gideon’s death, the Israelites would drift back into the devastating practice of idol worship. Throughout the period of the Judges and the Kings, we watched as the Israelites would cycle between their loyalty to the Lord, and their desire to worship at the world’s altar. We finally saw the stubbornness of the people lead to their ultimate downfall. Their desire to put false idols before their love of the Lord would eventually lead to their destruction, and their exile to a foreign land.

When we look back at ancient Israel, we see three main idols that filled the surrounding lands, and way too often, the Promised Land itself. Idols to Baal heavily influenced the Jewish people. Baal was a god worshipped by the Canaanites and the Phoenicians. They worshipped Baal as the sun and storm god. Baal was pantheistic, a god of the environment, and worship of him was very ritualistic and often times sensually practiced. The Bible tells us that in their worship of Baal they would scream uncontrollably, and inflict wounds on themselves(1 Kings 18:28). Jesus even referenced Baal when he called Satan by the name of Beelzebub, or ‘Baal-Zebub’.

Another of the idols that filled the houses and towns of the Jewish people was Asherah. She was the moon-goddess, worshipped as the goddess of love and war by the Syrians, Phoenicians, and Canaanites. The Syrians worshipped her under the name of Ishtar. They would carve large, limbless tree trunk with the image of Asherah on them, and place them in groves of trees as an area of worship. These groves became so common that the Lord told Moses that trees were not allowed to be planted around the altar that was made to Him(Deuteronomy 16:21). Worship of Asherah was very sexual, prostitution rings of both heterosexual and homosexual rituals surrounded the idol poles that stood in the groves. Worship of Asherah also involved the practice of fortune-telling and divination.

Another of these idols were made in the worship of Molech. The name Molech literally means “the personified ruler of shameful sacrifice”. Molech was represented by large, metal statues of part man and part animal. The people would turn to Molech for financial prosperity. And to gain this they would willing sacrifice their own children. Inside the abdomen of these giant statues was an open pit where fire would burn. The people would place their still alive children in this fire as a sacrifice to Molech, in hopes of securing their financial future. Before God lead His people back to the land of Canaan, He warned Moses about this practice. “You shall not give any of your offspring to offer them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am the Lord.”(Leviticus 18:21). One of these areas where this sacrifice took place, and the pure evil that occurred there, was spoke of by Jesus. These sacrifices were performed in the Valley of Hinnom, right outside the city of Jerusalem. An area God, Himself, would curse(Jeremiah 7:30-34). An area that when the Jews returned to the land after their captivity, was set aside for the burning of trash. This was also an area that Jesus would often use to describe Hell. The area we know today as Gehenna.

So why did the people of Israel so easily turn to idol worship? Did they not see the horrors this would bring on them? Did they not understand the consequences of their actions? So what drove these men to idol worship? The people of Israel turned to idols for the same reason we see the world doing so today. In ancient days, the same things drove men to worship idols that drive the hearts of men in current times. Covetousness, pride, and the desire for self all bring men to feet of idols. I believe that John summed it up best. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”, 1 John 2:16. When we put the values of this world above the Word of God, then idols will soon be found in our future. When we are willing to put aside the proven truth that the Lord offers, the ways of this world will soon consume us. The Bible warned us of this very day. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,”, 2 Timothy 4:3.

In our pluralistic, multicultural society, we have watched as this world attempts to redefine God. The world has decided that the God of the Bible is just too harsh and judgmental. That society seeks a god without demands, and one who does not know guilt. At the center of this attempt to give God a makeover, we find many in the Church, willing to put forward an image of this idolised god that is accepting of all behaviors and all human lifestyles. They are more than willing to define God as one who is in harmony with the desires of man, not a God who is in harmony with the words of the Bible.

The idol god that the world is now attempting to construct, will never leave the hearts of men satisfied. Each word of Scripture teaches us that a life apart from God is meaningless and futile. How easily we forget, God created us in His image, but we can never create God in the image of our desires. We will never create anything more than an empty shell with hands that cannot feel, and feet that will never walk(Psalm 115:1-8).

The Church in America has lost focus on its’ first love, and must get back to the example that Gideon set. We must get back to what God has called us to do, and that call is a simple one. “Build Me An Altar!” A place where our lives with God will be consecrated through our prayer, our worship, and our love for the truth in God’s Word. A place where we devote our life to God, strengthen our faith and walk with Christ. A place that will be a true shining example for this needing world to see. As we build this altar, the Church must again look at the blueprints God has given us. We cannot continue to build this altar to God on top or beside of old altars. This is not a space the Lord wishes to share, but a place He alone must occupy. We must first tear down the old altar of idolatry and wickedness this nation has constructed. Filled with the images of Baal that line its’ walkways, images that attempt to make God a part of this world, not the God of this world. Filled with the poles of Asherah we have raised, idols of sexual immorality that have and always will be perverse in the Lord’s eyes. And filled with the statues of Molech we have lit, the consuming fires that cost us the over a million of our most innocent lives in abortion clinics every year.

As the Lord looks across the countryside of America today, He is again looking for a Gideon, and a handful of devoted followers. Men and women who will put aside their fears, proclaim the name of God, and restore Him to His proper place atop this country and its’ people. Those who will tear down the altars to Baal this country has built. Those who will chomp down the modern day Asherah poles. And those who will drown out the fires of Molech.

The Church in this nation is facing its’ ‘Gideon Moment’. Will we follow the Lord’s voice, tearing down the idols that fill our land and lift the Lord up to His rightful place above this nation once again? Or will we ignore His warnings, watching in sorrow as we are marched off into exile? The answer to these questions, I do not know. But I do know that the Lord’s calls have now become screams, as He is pleading with us to once again built Him an altar. We have ignored warning after warning that He has given us. We continue to watch in silence as this nation builds more and more idols, mocking the Lord with each one that is constructed. Each time He calls the Church to step forward, we run to the corner and cower in fear. The Church in this nation, now finds itself entwined in man’s opinion. We have a greater fear of people’s conceptions, than we do of the Lord’s judgment. The Church is far more concerned of what society thinks of us, than what the Lord can make of us.

This is our moment. This is when we must decide exactly who we are. Are we the army of the Lord, or are we servants of man? The Church must decide which altar will stand in our presence. Will it be an altar to man’s desires, or an altar to the Lord’s truth? The Church must realize there is only room for one altar. There is not enough land to build both altars side by side, and the Church can no longer try to appease those who worship at both.

Today is the day! The day we must be willing to raise our hand and be counted. The day we must pick up our tools and begin to build an altar to the Lord. This day will not be an easy day for us. Just like Gideon, the world around us may curse and mock us. They may lash out at us, spewing venom in their words. And yes, they may look to any means to silence us. But we must cast aside our fears and follow the commands of the Lord’s voice. It is time we rolled up our sleeves and get busy, we have many American idols standing before us that the Lord is calling His people to tear down.

Praying each of you will answer the phone, God is calling!