By Pastor John Mateos Ong
After several judges that lead Israel, it seems like they still didn’t learn from their experiences. They fell into sin again and God gave them to the Midianites who enslaved them for 7 years. It’s like an unending cycle of Israel’s sin and God’s forgiveness.
Now, in Judges 6, we’ll learn about the judge next to Deborah—Gideon.
“The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
We can see that Gideon was just a very common person yet God chose to stand before the Israelites.
14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Despite being just an ordinary person, he was called by God to do his purposes through him.
15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
And because Gideon was just an ordinary man, he doubted his calling. So Gideon asked God for signs that will prove He is really the one talking to Gideon.
Here in Judges 6:13 we can see what was Gideon’s problem why he doubted. “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
Three questions emerge from this passage, first is does God knows our current situation or problems? Is He still capable of doing such miracles? Does He still care for us? As ordinary people, we doubt, we sometimes test God’s capability but we must know that after these, God still proves He is God.
God tested Gideon in return, and it is to tear down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it then build a proper altar to the Lord your God. Gideon obeyed but because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.
How Gideon obeyed makes us think, is he really the one that God should be using? Is there no one else that is more worthy? And here are some points that tell us how did God prepare Gideon.
1. Tear down the Idols – Idolatry has a great scope, it doesn’t end with images or statues of idols but it scales down to the most common thing we’re addicted into. People can be an idol, things, money, fame, and anything that we put first before God is an idol. You might be idolatrous if (1) you force yourself into spiritual disciplines, meaning you pray for the sake of not praying not because you really want to and (2) there are things in your life that you’re more excited about.
2. Build an Altar – An altar is a place where you communicate with God. But as Jesus said before that the time will come where we can worship and pray to God without going to a temple or an altar. This means we can make ourselves holy for the Lord. Build an altar inside of you. Consecrate yourself.
3. Sacrifice – There are two things we can give—glory and praise. And when we give sacrifice, it should have one focus, it is voluntary, it was given joyfully, there is a cost and is worthy. When God asked Gideon to tear down the idols, and build an altar and sacrifice He did it in reverse. He sacrificed first His only begotten son so he could build an altar in your heart and wait for you to tear down your idols.