“And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? … if he be a god, let him plead for himself …” — Judges 6:31
Gideon was judge of Israel, but his father was an idolater, as were the other people of the town. When Gideon cast down his father’s altar to Baal, the town’s people came looking for Gideon. They had decided that he deserved death for such an action. Joash, Gideon’s father, was wise enough to realize that if Baal was a real god he should be able to take care of himself. He shouldn’t need any human to defend him or prop him up.
I have a minister friend in India who tells a similar story. There was a pagan priest who was in charge of a temple for one of the Indian goddesses. In the temple stood the “goddess,” bedecked with gold and adorned with precious jewels. One evening a pilgrim on a journey stopped in at the temple to worship the goddess and then asked if he could spend the night in the temple. The pagan priest granted his request and allowed the man to sleep in the temple.
When the priest came into the temple in the morning to see after his goddess, he discovered that not only was the pilgrim gone, so were the jewels that had adorned the idol. Rather than being angry and upset over this discovery, this priest, like Joash, realized that if the idol were truly a god she could have prevented the pilgrim from stealing her jewels.
God used this experience to teach the old pagan priest that the statue which he worshipped and served was no god at all. And the man lost all respect for the false goddess that he formerly worshipped. He also used this experience to draw this man to Christ.
Today this former pagan priest is a minister of the gospel.
Herein is a great lesson for all of us: Jehovah, the true God, doesn’t need a defender. He doesn’t need anyone to argue His cause for Him. And He doesn’t need anyone to prop Him up. On the contrary, we are in great need of His help. We are in need of a defender; we are in need of someone to hold us up; we are in need of someone to order our cause.
Is there something in your life that doesn’t seem to be able to stand on its own — something that you have to prop up and defend, something that you have to find some justification for? Could it be that you are trying to make a god out of something that is no god at all? Could it be that you are trying to justify something for which there is no justification? Could it be that you are trying to defend something for which there is no defense? Are you trying to validate something in your life that can provide no validation itself?
Let it stand or fall on its own. If it can’t stand on its own, if you must defend and assist it, maybe it is better if it falls…Out of your life.
• Philip Green is pastor of Greenwood Primitive Baptist Church.