And build an altar unto the LORD thy God. —Judges 6:26
Read Judges 6:25-32
Before Gideon was to deliver Israel from the power of the Midianites, he was to reform the way Israel worshiped the Lord. Idolatry, the root cause of God’s punishment, had to be excised from the nation. In our lives as well, sin must be rooted out before we can be relieved of the effects of it. An altar for Baal and a grove for worship had been placed, as it were, right in Gideon’s back yard (v.25), and the Lord gave Gideon clear instructions concerning their destruction. Gideon performed the deed during the night because he feared resistance, even though the Lord had explicitly called him and promised to help him.
The next morning the inhabitants of Ophrah asked Gideon’s father, Joash, to deliver his son into their hands so that they might kill him. This was a terrible demand, especially because this punishment was only prescribed by God when someone served Baal (Deut. 13:6-9) and not for destroying an idol! Joash was able to save his son by saying that if Baal was truly a god then he did not need the help of men to defend him. As a result of this redemptive history, Gideon was given a new name, Jerubbaal, which means “Let Baal plead against him.”
How is Baal’s impotence demonstrated in this history?