God intended the ephod to be a very good thing–to remind the priests of their God-given responsibilities as they entered His presence. Exodus 28 describes the ephod in descriptive detail — everything from the kind of material and stitching that was to be used to what should be in the pocket placed over the heart of the priests. All of this was meant to give the priest every opportunity to accomplish his role in an effective and God-honoring way.
The ephod was worn by the priests especially when they were seeking direction from the Lord. When a difficult decision was to be made, the Urim and Thummin (a black and white stone) were the indicators of a “no” or “yes” from the Lord as they retrieved a divine answer from their garment pocket. This was one of God’s ways of speaking plainly in those days when they didn’t have the benefit of the Holy Spirit’s voice as we do today.
In the aftermath of Gideon’s great victory, he wanted to honor God by making an all-gold ephod. He was “improving” on God’s design. He meant well–this was a symbol of God’s leading in this unforgettable victory. Though meant for good, however, it became an idol. We read in Judges 8:27, “Gideon made it into an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah, and all Israel played the harlot with it there, so that it became a snare to Gideon and his household.” What was intended for good became something really ugly.
There are golden ephods all around us.
- A home we intended to use for God has become a god of our own making
- A job in which we wanted to honor God has become an intoxicating source of prestige and power
- A ministry we’ve invested in has gripped our passions for many wrong reasons
- A friendship we intended for good has become bands of bondage keeping us from God’s plan for our lives
- A few material things has “mushroomed” into a lifestyle of consumerism that mocks God
Any golden ephods in your life — those things that were meant to be beautiful, God-honoring, and good? Maybe you’ve tried to improve on God’s plan and it’s become a snare.
It’s time again to claim God’s good and dump the bad and ugly. I dare you…