First Things First

William Arévalo

There was a time of crisis to Israel, they were under oppression and lived in fear. So, they cried out to the Lord. Then the Lord told them. You are in the midst of this because you are worshipping pagan gods instead of worshipping me.

What happened was that little by little, they allowed the influence of the pagan nations around them to take over their nation and gave other gods the place that only belongs to the Lord.

They didn’t realize how offensive this was for God.

The same as we don’t realize how offensive some of our movies are to God.

Or how offensive to Him is the amount of time and resources we dedicate to our worldly pleasures and how little our investment is in His Kingdom.

So, the Lord allowed the oppression to come, and then they turned back to Him looking for help.

Then, He explained to them the reason why they were like that.

And then they did NOTHING about it!

So, what can we learn from this?

I don’t know about you but I noticed that last January our world, our nations, and our society were so confident… we were strong and also we were okay with having offensive idols taking the place of God in our lives, and we were not really worried about doing anything to change it.

But in the last couple of months, I noticed nations turning to God, crying out for help. I saw presidents proclaiming days of fast and prayer. And that’s great!!

Now the question is: Are doing anything about the idols we are worshipping?

Are we repenting from the offensive lifestyle we were living in?

Or are we looking forward to going back to normal and continuing with the same goals and habits we had before like if nothing had happened? (pausa)

Believe me, I’m the first one being confronted with this word.

We see that in the midst of crisis, God came to meet with Gideon. God thought the crisis was the right environment to meet with him.

Let’s read

Judges 6:12–13 (NIV)

12When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

It is interesting to me that when God was talking to Gideon, Gideon didn’t realize it was God. And it made me think, perhaps God is talking and we are not realizing it’s Him talking.

When God called Moises to freed the people of Isreal, He called him from a burning bush. And perhaps Gideon thought that that was the only way for God to call people to set a nation free.

But here was God calling Gideon in a casual conversation under a tree. And maybe God is talking to you and you haven’t realized it yet because it is too casual for you, and you don’t think it could be God.

I love the way that verse 13 is bringing the same questions and thoughts that are coming from people all over the world today and certainly some of you in this parking lot or watching online are also wondering:

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about?”

Therefore, the natural conclusion would be: “God has abandoned us”.

What Gideon didn’t understand is that God chose crisis to get his attention. And He’s doing the same today with us.

Gideon’s conclusion wasn’t right either…. God hadn’t abandoned them. He was right there talking to him and He was about to do something!!

When the angel of the Lord greeted him and said: “The Lord is with you”, it wasn’t just a formality. It was a REALITY! Literally, God was with him!

The problem was he couldn’t realize it. Let me tell you today: God is with you!! Right here in this parking lot, God is with you!

Right there where you are watching this screen, God is with you!!!

And if God is for us?… who can stand against us?

Now it is time for the mission. We all know the famous story about Gideon and his 300 men. But that wasn’t the first mission he had received from the Lord. The first mission was this:

Judges 6:25–26 (NIV)

25That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.

26Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.”

As we can see… For God, first things first.

He was saying: Yes, I’ll deliver you with mighty power, but first I want your heart in the right place, delivered from pagan idols. You are not going to carry my name and my power if you are still having other motives of worship inside of you, inside of your house.

God is not in a hurry to get our lives back to “normal”. His priority is the condition of our hearts. His goal for us is to end this Covid-19 season with a renewed mind, knowing Him better and worshipping Him only. 

The first part of the mission was to tear down the pagan altars. But the second part was to “build a proper kind of altar to the Lord”    WOW!

Many times we just tear down the pagan altars but we don’t build “the proper altar to the Lord. “

We stop watching the wrong movies, but we don’t dedicate our new free time to the Lord.

We pray at the same time we are doing something else. And that’s good when that’s not the only prayer time we have.

I want to challenge you today if you are not doing it yet, set apart a time and place to be alone with the Lord. Dedicate 15, 30, 40 minutes or an hour to be with Him daily, and your life will change for good. You will become the man, the woman of God you’ve always dreamed to be.

Build a proper kind of altar to the Lord and His Glory will be manifested in you.

Let me share a story with you. My family and I have had the opportunity to travel and sleep in different hotels. My son told me the other day that he wants to travel to be able to stay in a hotel for a couple of nights.

Now, in none of our travels my wife Melek had told me: “William, I think we need to get a new carpet for our room in the hotel” or “I think we need to remodel the bathroom and invest a couple of thousands of dollars in it”.


We have our own house, our own place to live permanently. We will not be at the hotel too long, we invest our time and money in our house, not in a hotel where we will only be for a couple of days, right?

Now, let me tell you… our lives in this world is the hotel. Our real home is in heaven!

My friend, do not invest your life in improving the hotel. Invest your life in your eternal home!!

Jesus said: What good is for a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul?

What benefit will it be for you to go back to normal if your normal doesn’t have Jesus as the center of it all?

Before seeing himself free from the Midianites, Gideon saw himself free from his worldly pagan idols. And THAT was his greatest victory!

Now, by his obedience and willingness to live for God, an entire nation was blessed! And it is my prayer today, that by our obedience and willingness to live for God, our nation could be blessed.

Where are today’s Gideons?

Are you one of them?

Are you ready to tear down anything in your life that could be offensive to God?

Are you ready to go back to your new normal having Jesus at the center of your new lifestyle?

Let’s pray this song….

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