As we continue to move forward in the life of Gideon, we learn about God’s process to prepare us for the purposes He call us to.
In Judges 6, Gideon gave “the angel of the Lord” an offering, and the Lord lit a fire that completely consumed the offering. At that point, Gideon began to believe a little, so he tells God, “Okay.”
The Lord wasted no time in assigning Gideon his first task. But He doesn’t jump right in to defeating the 120,000 Midianites. Gideon’s family and personal life needed to be cleaned up first. I believe this is huge in Gideon’s development and, consequently, in our own personal walk with Christ.
The Lord tells Gideon to tear down the altars in his father’s house.
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
In verse 27, we see Gideon’s progress …
- He did as the Lord told him
• But he did it at night because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town
Gideon was convinced that he was speaking to the Sovereign Lord, yet he was still fearful of what his family and others would think. I see so much of myself in Gideon, obeying God at night because of my fear of others.
But let’s not be too hard on Gideon. He did obey, even if it was at night and in fear. To me, the more important point is that God prepared Gideon for His bigger plan by having him deal with family issues first.
His family, even though they believed in the Lord God of Israel, also wanted to “cover their tracks”. They set up an altar to Baal just in case the Lord God didn’t come through.
That’s similar to us saying, “I believe Jesus died for the world and rose again, and I have confidence in the Prophet Mohammad so I go to Mecca once a year”. What we’re really saying in that is, “If Jesus doesn’t come through, maybe Mohammad will cover me”.
Here’s the takeaway: It is never Jesus plus anything. Jesus is to be trusted alone, day by day and hour by hour. In every situation, we must constantly ask ourselves the question, “Am I trusting in Jesus or in something or someone else?”
Just as with Gideon, our hearts and our family issues must be dealt with. If we public with Jesus, we need to have dealt with the “idols” in us and our families.
Gideon’s first step of faith took great courage, but even after this huge step he was still unsure of God’s calling. We’ll take a closer look into that next week.
John's travels for ministry behind the Iron Curtain led him to found East-West Ministries International in 1993. John and his wife, Susie, live in Dallas, Texas and have a grown daughter and two grandchildren.