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  • Writer's pictureBro. Caleb Taft

Morning Manna | Judges 8:27 | A Golden Ephod

Judges 8:27 And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.

Gideon was a good man, a courageous man, even the Lord called him a “Mighty man of Valor,” A man who was valiant for the Lord, a man who was not greedy for power, for he refused to rule over Israel because they were to be ruled over by God. Neither would he accept for his sons to rule but was content to have served the Lord and been used by God to deliver them from the Midianites, but our verse today reminds us that the best of men are just men. 

This Ephod was crafted from the earrings and spoils of their war with the Midianites, and while I think Gideon’s intentions were good, they were misled and not from God. God had told him to fight, and God had given him the wisdom to overcome the enemy but this ephod seems to be an idea that was of his own wisdom, not God’s. He went about to do what he saw as a good thing and it turned out to become idolatry. It says that all of Israel went whoring after it. These people who were prone to idolatry turned this golden ephod into an idol and worshiped a symbol or memorial to their victory more than the God who gave them the victory. 

The same thing happens in our hour. There have been good, valiant men who have started this ministry or that one and have gone on to work valiantly for the Lord. Then we set up museums and collect their shoes and clothes and put them in the church foyer as a memorial to victory wrought in that man's life, this is one example. I’m sure the intention is good but we are prone to idolatry and what was meant to glorify God, in turn, glorifies man and therefore becomes a mode of Idolatry. Men say things like, Brother so-and-so was this and he was that and how great he was, look at all that was accomplished! Forgetting that it was the God of that man that was great, not that man! Do you remember where God found Gideon? Hiding behind a tree grinding meal, a job that was shameful for a man. It wasn’t Gideon who was Great it was God that was great, but it seems that Israel forgot that and so do we. 

Other examples of these Golden ephods are church buildings, properties, places, and even graveyards. People begin to worship the place where God meets with them instead of the God who meets with them. So many ministries that started victoriously and powerfully have devolved into golden ephods,  and if we aren’t careful those things associated with the worship of our Lord can become the objects of worship, and when they do they become a “snare.” 

The verse says that it became a snare to Gideon and his house. His home that had risen to honor by the might of God fell to dishonor by a single golden ephod. So many great men have turned what God wrought into what they could wrought. God wrought victory in their lives and they just had to memorialize it by some means or memorialize the place or the meeting it happened in, whether it be a camp meeting, a church building, a campground, or even a church pew all of these have the potential of becoming golden Ephods. When this happens they cease to be a blessing and become a snare. They steal the hearts of God’s people away from God, to worship and idolize the creature more than the creator. 

It seems that these golden ephods are easily constructed, an honorable man takes up an offering from the People, adds a bit of industry and there you have a golden Ephod, but how difficult they are to get rid of. It seems that Gideon kept this thing around for the rest of his days. So have many men in this hour constructed them, and instead of swallowing their pride, irritating the idolaters, melting the thing down, and doing away with it, they keep the honor of man over the honor of God and decide to live with their snare. 

We often think of idolatry as golden calfs but this verse proves that it can even be golden ephods. I’m reminded of John's instruction to his “little children,” “keep yourselves from idols.”

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