Friday, February 21, 2014

A God-sized Task for a Common Man

Now on the same night the LORD said to him, "Take your father's bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down." Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father's household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night. Judges 6:25-27

As we move through the story of Gideon we discover that God’s revelation preceded a command to perform a dangerous and confrontational act.  Israel had turned to Baal worship, and Gideon’s family was the keeper of the idol to Baal.  Gideon had to know that this command from God was going to cause big trouble both for him and his family.  Yet, after he was convinced this was from the True and Living God, he obeyed.

When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. They said to one another, "Who did this thing?" And when they searched about and inquired, they said, "Gideon the son of Joash did this thing." Judges 6:28-29

Evidently it was common knowledge concerning who had vandalized the idol even though he had done it in the cover of darkness.  Gideon was not timid when confronted with responsibility.  These men who came had derived great pleasure from their sensuous worship and were angry that he had tampered with it.  So angry that they called for his death.

They said to one another, "Who did this thing?" And when they searched about and inquired, they said, "Gideon the son of Joash did this thing." Then the men of the city said to Joash, "Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it." Judges 6:29-30

But something very strange happened.  Instead of giving his son to the angry mob, his father voiced some his own doubts in a way that gave God a chance to regain His people.  He dared Baal to raise himself up if he was God.

But Joash said to all who stood against him, "Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? Whoever will plead for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar." Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, that is to say, "Let Baal contend against him," because he had torn down his altar. Judges 6:31-32

It seems the true powerlessness of the idol was revealed because one young man took a stand for the True and Living God.  His faith was enough to get ten servants to follow and his father to reflect enough to stand with him.

Our thoughts from this account should remind us of the power of one faithful individual to alter the hearts of many.  In our everyday lives there are so many things we hear and see that we feel uncomfortable with; but no one says a word.  It is not because we agree but being “politically correct” or “not wanting to offend” people remain silent.  That is, until one individual takes a public stand.  One voice opens the mouths of many who have felt the same way but were not quite bold enough to speak out.  Praise God for the Gideons among us and their boldness for God!

Scripture to claim:

"If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. John 15:19

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