Judges 6:22-32 – Two Different gods
(22) And when Gideon perceived that he was an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.
(23) And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.
(24) Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
(25) And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:
(26) And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.
(27) Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
(28) And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.
(29) And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.
(30) Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.
(31) And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.
(32) Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.
In today’s passage, we see God contrast two different gods, the true God (with the capital), and the fake god (lower case), Baal. Both of which were worshiped at altars (Satan, who is behind anything against God, is always a copy-cat). Gideon, saw God, and feared for his life, thinking God was just going to strike him dead on the spot. God, however, doesn’t do that, and Gideon builds an altar. Whenever a name for something is given in the Bible, very often there is a meaning attached to it, and here is no different. The name of the altar, “Jehovahshalom”, roughly means, “the Lord is Peace”. Which is exactly what God is and gives us, peace.
We see Gideon built an altar to worship God, but then God give Gideon a task, to tear down his father’s altar to Baal, a fake god, to destroy the “grove” where the people worshiped Baal, and build an altar to the real God in its place, a task which Gideon and 10 other men accomplished that night. Baal was an idol, a statue; that’s all. Yet, the people still worshiped it instead of the real God. Really, an idol is anything you let come before God. Today, some people do worship statues, but we, in our culture, tend to idolize other things. One big example of this is money. Money is not wrong, but letting it be the driving force of your life is. Another example is friends. If your friends cause you to grow away from God, those are not good friends to have!
Gideon ended up tearing down the altar and the grove, and built a new one in its place. The town’s people were upset at him and wanted him punished! Then, something interesting happened. Gideon’s father, who had the altar in the first place, confronts the people and tells them that if Baal is real, let him defend himself. Of course, Baal cannot defend himself because it is nothing but a statue! Those things we put before God have as much power to satisfy us as Baal had to defend himself, none. It doesn’t matter what you invest your life in. If it’s money, other people, your job, sports, or anything besides God, it will always come up empty. Not that those things are wrong, but nothing except God can do what God does, which is fill that place in a person’s hear designed for Him. Just like the altars in the passage, both alters could not have been in the same place, and two things cannot have the number one place in your life.
Life Step: Think about it…
In today’s world, what kind of things do people tend to put before God?
What can we do to replace those things with God in our lives?