Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Gideon and a Lesson on Our Required Response

"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” (Judges 6:25).

National reformation does not start with political action, though eventually it has to include political changes. When God took the initiative to restore Israel the first thing He required was that idolatry be rooted out and true worship be restored. Worship, saying “Amen” to God and to His Word, is always our first duty.

Immediately after the sacrifice that turned away God’s anger, God told Gideon to tear down the altar to Baal that was in his father’s yard. Apparently Gideon’s father was an important man in the city and the idolatrous shrine was kept on his property. Aware that he would be stopped if he tried to do this in the daytime, Gideon tore down the altar at night, built a proper altar to the Lord, and sacrificed a bull on it as a burnt offering. The burnt offering signified consecration and meant that the nation was to consecrate itself to the Lord anew.

In the morning the men of the city were furious, but Gideon’s father stood up for his son. “If Baal is concerned about this, let Baal deal with Gideon,” he said. Gideon must have been surprised to see his father willing to follow his lead.

Soon the Midianites swept into the land to plunder it. Gideon blew the trumpet and a large army came to him. Again, he must have been amazed that so many were willing to respond to his leadership. Still unsure of himself, Gideon asked God to give him a sign. He would put out a fleece of wool on the threshing floor and if there was dew on the fleece while the ground was dry it would be a sign for him to proceed. God did so, but Gideon was still uncertain. Would God do it again in reverse, with the ground wet and the fleece dry? He did. Finally, Gideon was convinced (Judges 6:36–40).

Many people have wrongly inferred from this incident that it is legitimate for us to test God through the means of “fleeces.” The Bible does not support that idea. Just because God did it one time for Gideon does not mean He will do it for us. Notice also that Gideon asked this sign with fear and trembling; he knew it was a risky request.

Gideon desired “faith to become sight.” One confirmation after another was necessary to overcome his spiritual inertia. Perhaps your own hesitancy to initiate spiritual leadership stems from a parallel problem. Determine whether or not God has already given you a clear agenda and, if appropriate, boldly exert your influence.