Judges 6:19-27

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 1, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.
The angel of God said to him, 'Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.'
And Gideon did so. Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, 'Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!'
But the Lord said to him, 'Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.'
So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
That 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. Then 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.'” (Judges 6:19-27)

We started to hear Gideon’s story a couple weeks ago, so I encourage you go to read that post to get some context for where we pick up the story this week.

God has told Gideon to do something crazy and outrageous, to save Israel from the Midianites who were badly oppressing them, and Gideon isn’t so sure about that, since he’s not a strong guy and he doesn’t have a strong background. Gideon wanted a sign, so the angel provided one by sending fire and burning up Gideon’s offering. The fire was a sign of acceptance of that offering.

But now, Gideon suspected that he would surely die, because he knew that he had seen the angel of the Lord. Seeing the actual face of God means certain death, and he knew that so he was afraid, and with good reason. The angel reassures him, telling him to have peace. That command of having peace can be taken not just for Gideon as an individual, but as a foreshadowing that peace would come to their nation once again.

We then get to God’s direct instructions to Gideon: tear down the altars to Baal and the Asherah poles. This was not a new thing, and any Israelite should have known better that they should only be worshipping the one true God. They had received similar commands previously in Exodus 32:12-13, Deuteronomy 7:5, and Judges 2:2, not to mention being told to not worship any other gods but Him in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-6).

Why was this a dangerous thing for Gideon to do? He was definitely going against mainstream society here. Baal worship was the popular thing to do, and everyone who was anyone worshipped Baal. The people also worshipped Asherah, the goddess of sexuality and fertility, and would be mad that the Asherah pole was torn down. Also, even though the Lord specified that this is Gideon’s father’s altar, it’s not just their own family’s personal place of worship. This altar and pole were used for their entire community, so it would be very obvious that they’d be destroyed, and a lot of people would be mad. The instruction Gideon receives is to totally destroy the Asherah pole; once it was burned, it could not be re-used.

Naturally, as any of us would be, Gideon wasn’t all gung ho to go out and do this right away. But did he do it? Tune in next week (or read ahead in Judges 6) to find out!

Why does this story matter to us today? We don’t have any altars to Baal around, or any Asherah poles. But even if the symbols of idol worship aren’t as prominent in a physical way, we still have idols and we all still worship them. Read this post for some more on that. It is important that we hear God’s voice and what He is telling is okay to do, or not to do. Even if it goes against what’s popular and seems right to society, we must always listen to God first. How are you doing that in your own life?

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