In today’s chapter, God raises up the fifth Judge in Israel’s history, Gideon. After 7 years of oppression from the Midianites, God tells Gideon that he will rescue Israel from them. God then called Gideon to break down an altar to Baal that was within his town, and cut down the Asherah poles. When he did, he then built an altar to God in their place and sacrificed a bull. Then the people of Midian, Amalek and others in the east formed an alliance against the people of Israel. Gideon called forth an army from the people of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Nephtali. Gideon then asked God to give him two signs to prove that God was going to use him to bring His people out of oppression.
The most meaningful part of this chapter, to me, was Joash’s reaction to what Gideon had done to the altar of Baal. Upon discovering that the altar had been destroyed, the people formed a mob and searched for the person responsible. After asking around they discovered that Gideon was responsible. The mob approached his father’s house and demanded that Gideon be handed over to them so he could be killed. Joash’s response was, “Why are you defending Baal? Will you argue his case? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If Baal truly is a god, let him defend himself and destroy the one who broke down his altar” (6:31, NLT). Joash was defending his son and also calling out the false God. Joash knew that the Israelites were not to worship other gods. So this was also a play to bring the people back to God.
How hard is it for us to stand up for what is right? Especially when everyone around is telling you that you are wrong? God calls us to stand up for righteousness, and fight off the ways of the world. The mob that formed was telling Joash’s family that it is wrong for them to worship any god but Baal. Yet the first Commandment stands against this. Which is right? And which is easier to stand up for? Being against everyone around is a hard place to be. But God doesn’t ask us to agree with the people around us. He asks us to follow Him, and live according to His Word. It’s not easy. It may cause you to stand up to a mob. But that’s the life that we are called to live, because that’s the life Jesus lead. He faced people who were against him all the way until he died on the Cross. So we must stand strong, and know that God is with us! “What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” (Romans 8:31, NLT).
Also in this series
- Just a Bit of History (Judges 1)
- The Testing of Israel (Judges 2)
- We Need God to Succeed (Judges 3)
- Make Your Enemy Flee (Judges 4)
- Being Thankful (Judges 5)
Psalms to Pray: Psalm 55