Greetings in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Gideon was an ordinary person. Like others, he was in fear of the people of Midianites. He was hiding from the Midianites, and threshing inside the winepress. God, who is merciful and full of love, came to Gideon because God heard the cries of the people of Israel, His own children out of the suffering. For seven years, their hearts had left away from God, and acted wickedly against God by doing evil of worshipping idols instead of the God. God, who dearly loved His children, patiently waited for His children to come back to Him. The Israelites, the God’s children, finally realized that their idols could not save them, because they were nothing but things made by their own hands.
In fact, the idols could do nothing for them, as the Bible tells
Their Idols are merely things of silver and gold,
shaped by human hands.
They have mouths but cannot speak,
and eyes but cannot see.
They have ears but cannot hear,
and noses but cannot smell.
They have hands but cannot feel,
and feet but cannot walk,
and throats but cannot make a sound. (Psalm 115:4-7)
Even so, the Israelites worshiped their idols for seven years. The Bible says about the absurd stupidity of those who worship idols:
He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it. Then it becomes fuel for a man. He takes a part of it and warms himself; he kindles a fire and bakes bread. Also he makes a god and worships it; he makes it an idol and falls down before it. Half of it he burns in the fire. Over the half he eats meat; he roasts it and is satisfied. Also he warms himself and says, “Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire!” And the rest of it he makes into a god, his idol, and falls down to it and worships it. He prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god!” (Isaiah 44:14-17)
Thus, the outcome of worshipping idols was obvious as the Bible tells:
And those who make idols are just like them,
as are all who trust in them. (Psalm 115:8)
The compassionate God sent an angel of God. Gideon met the angel, but he did not know he was talking with the angel sent by God. After a long conversation, Gideon realized that that he met the angel of God, he cried out “Oh, Sovereign LORD, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” God, who was full of mercy, comforted and encouraged Gideon, “It is all right. Do not be afraid. You will not die.”
Gideon gave thanks to God, and built an altar to the LORD there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the LORD is peace”). Before the alter, he remembered what was told by the angel of God, “You will rescue Israel from the Midianites.” He also recalled God’s voice promise too, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” That evening, Gideon recited again and again in his heart what was told by God. He was also wandering about what the God’s message really meant.
That night God came again, and said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it. Then build an altar to the LORD your God here on this hilltop sanctuary, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.”
God, who started a good work in Gideon, did not delay. God started unfolding His plan for the people of Israel. God gave a really daunting task to Gideon, who used to be wimpy and coward in fear. However, after meeting with God and His angel, Gideon was dramatically changed. (Actually God changed him.) He was no longer the old Gideon. As soon as he heard God’s command, he immediately brought God’s command in action.
Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town. His faith in God was still in fancy. He was still in fear of people. He was courageous in God, but he was still afraid of the people. This is quite contrast to Peter and John who confronted the priests, the captain of the Temple guard, and some of the Sadducees. They stood before the council of all the rulers and elders and teachers of religious law including Annas the high priest of the year. Then the high priest and the rulers ordered Peter not to teach in the name of Jesus anymore. What was the response of Peter and John?
But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19-20)
Gideon’s faith was not up to the level of Peter and John, who openly proclaimed Jesus, His resurrection, and salvation before the High Priest and all the rulers in Jerusalem, who directly prohibits the teaching of Jesus Christ. Their bravely acted in faith, which gave the glory to God, and there was a miraculous healing of the man over forty years old. God’s power was magnified in the faith of Peter and John despite of the imminent threats of the High Priest and the hostile peopole surrounding them.
Even though Gideon did during the night in fear of the people of the town, God was pleased with what Gideon did. Despite of his fear, Gideon did what God commanded. Early the next morning, as the people of the town began to stir, someone discovered that the altar of Baal had been broken down and that the Asherah pole beside it had been cut down. In their place a new altar had been built, and on it were the remains of the bull that had been sacrificed. The people said to each other, “Who did this?” And after asking around and making a careful search, they learned that it was Gideon, the son of Joash.
The challenge against the faithful act done by Gidon started. “Bring out your son,” the men of the town demanded of Joash. “He must die for destroying the altar of Baal and for cutting down the Asherah pole.” The people were really hostile to Gideon. They demanded Gideon to kill. God knew Gideon could not stand against the people trying to kill Gideon. God, who was merciful, protected Gideon. God sent his father instead.
Upon God’s spirit on Joash, Gideon’s father, he sternly shouted to the mob of the people, “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!” The mob of the people were silenced. From then on Gideon was called Jerub-baal, which means “Let Baal defend himself,” because he broke down Baal’s altar.
Surely, God used Joash’s mouth and defended Gideon. Additionally, to the people coming to kill Gideon, God told the truth about the Baal so that they could realize the Baal was not a god, but a man-made object carved out of the human’s hand, which could not speak, see, hear, smell, feel and walk. God is always merciful to all people (including those who against Him), and provides an opportunity to anyone to come to Him. If anyone hears God’s saving message, and comes to Him, He accepts the person. Regardless who the person was, God accepts as His children. God is always waiting and patiently waiting for coming of us to Him. What God wants is returning to Him. Our God is always merciful and full of grace, who always forgives all wrongdoings and sins committed if anyone returns to Him and confesses all sins committed.
The mob of the people gathered to capture and kill Gideon were speechless after hearing Gideon father’s speech about the truth regarding to their idols. One by one, they dispersed and went home. They found that there was nothing that they could do. God protected Gideon, and the mob of the people was utterly powerless before God.
Why did God protected Gideon? Not because Gideon was perfect, but he did best to follow God’s command despite of his fear of the people worshipping idols. This Gideon’s faithful act pleased God. What can we learn? We should do God’s will despite of our own fear of the people around us or things on earth. We might not be able to act bravely in faith like Pete and John, but God still pleases with us as God pleased with Gideon. It is also true that what we need to do just follow God’s command, then the rest is God’s. God completes His will and protects His faithful servant. What a comfort God provides to us, who are faithful in Him!
God is always merciful and full of love. He truly wants to see His child to grow in Him step by step and day by day. Gideon followed God’s command, but he did it during night in fear of the people around him. Then God loved Gideon’s faithful action in Him. Before meeting God, Gideon was hiding in fear of the Midian, but in faith Gideon could destroy the alter of Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole to use as wood for the new alter that he built. This first act in faith was a truly gigantic step for Gideon. God sees the center of our heart, and our best effort before God. We might not be like Peter or John, who could bravely proclaim God’s message before the threat of the High Priest and the rulers in Jerusalem. Even so, we should not be discouraged. God knows our heart, and He loves us, and help us to grow in faith every day. Be faithful, and authentic before God. Then approach to God as who we are. God accepts us as who we are, and pleases with us because He sees our heart. Just come, come to God. He is always having arms open widely and waiting for us. He is Our True and Ever-Loving Father, who will loves us forever.
On that day the announcement to Jerusalem will be,
“Cheer up, Zion! Don’t be afraid!
For the LORD your God is living among you.
He is a mighty savior.
He will take delight in you with gladness.
With his love, he will calm all your fears.
He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” (Zephaniah 3:16-17)