Battleground Earth 10: Gideon: Tear Down the Idols! - David Mitts

"The LORD looked at him and said, "Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?""  Jdg 6:14 (NASB)

Click here to listen to "Gideon: Tear Down the Idols"

The Midianites used their overwhelming numbers to devastate the Children of Israel by destroying their crops, livestock, and their provision.  God responds to the numerical advantage by increasing His Presence in the equation. One person with God is always a majority.

Turn with me to Judges 6:10-12

"and I said to you, "I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me."'" Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, "The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.""  Jdg 6:10-12 (NASB)

Recalling from the last chapter, the Amorites, a translation from the Hebrew word “amar” which means to speak have overrun Israel and destroyed the crops and livestock. So, the Amorites represent the power of the multitude of voices in the world.  The gods of the Amorites are named the Baal Peor’s. Baal means lord or husband. Peor comes from the root Paar which means opening. The composite meaning is the Lord or the husband of the opening. Since the Amorites are the speaking people, it is the worship of an open mouth, or many words coming forward.

"When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise."  Pro 10:19 (NASB)

We are living in times of many voices which, like the Amorites, are overrunning our land. Transgression, the violation of the boundaries of a covenant life is unavoidable. The voices are coming at us through the media, through the internet on social media, in video clips, and through our friends and family. Words come from ideas that come from problems that need solving. We are being trampled by words and they are driving a narrative that is full of fear and uncertainty. In the midst of these trying times, we need to stop the madness by listening and by speaking the Words of Truth that come from Him who is the only true source of goodness and light in these dark times.

Let’s move on now, to Gideon. Gideon has an encounter with the Angel of the Lord at the winepress where Gideon is beating out the wheat to avoid it being destroyed by the Midianites.

The winepress is designed for grapes which are soft and juicy. Wheat is hard and usually requires the use of force to thresh, which was accomplished with the help of oxen pulling a stone over the wheat. It can be done by hand but is extremely difficult and almost impossible in a winepress. When we realize that this is the point here, we begin to see why God sent His angel specifically to meet with Gideon.

Wine is the symbol for joy. So, in the place of joy, basic sustenance was being eked out. Why? Because of the oppression of many voices that had replaced the voice of the Lord. God sends His Voice to restore joy. If I was the characterize this current time, it would be as an attack on our joy. The Lord’s response is to send His voice to us:

""My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love. "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full."  Joh 15:8-11 (NASB)

There is a relational basis for our joy! Like the grapevine, we are to bear fruit! This fruit will produce joy in our lives, a fullness. The secret is love and the guarding of the treasured instructions of the Lord, what the scripture calls His commandments. Usually, commandments are viewed as obedience. But, in love they become treasures. It is all about learning to disregard the voices of Baal Peor of the Amarim and learning to treasure the love instructions of our God.

Gideon, at the winepress, hears the voice of the Lord through the Angel. The angel declares, the Lord is with you, o valiant warrior. This is truly all we need to hear. If God is for us, who can be against us?

Gideon like many of us evaluates this declaration by his circumstances:

"Then Gideon said to him, "O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, 'Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?' But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.""  Jdg 6:13 (NASB)

In these dark times, it is easy to be distracted by the appearance of the strength of the many voices of chaos, the Midianites of our day. We tend to look at ourselves through our weaknesses and the enemies by their strength! The angel replies:

"The LORD looked at him and said, "Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?""  Jdg 6:14 (NASB)

Notice the Lord doesn’t comfort Gideon by telling him how powerful and mighty he is. No. He tells Gideon to go in his limited strength.  Gideon cannot fathom how he; the little guy, can impact the overwhelming odds against him.

"He said to Him, "O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father's house." But the LORD said to him, "Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.""  Jdg 6:15-16 (NASB)

Gideon sees himself by the definitions he knows reality by, his perception. This defines truly who he is in his own eyes. Yet God sees Gideon through the cross. God sees the complete oneness with Him which redeems Gideon, for this purpose into the One New Man. This is a prophetic restoration that brings about the Glory of God.

Gideon still sees by the outer world and so he tests the Lord by asking for a sign:

"So Gideon said to Him, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me. "Please do not depart from here, until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You." And He said, "I will remain until you return." Then Gideon went in and prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the oak and presented them. The angel of God said to him, "Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth." And he did so. Then the angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight. When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the LORD, he said, "Alas, O Lord GOD! For now I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face." The LORD said to him, "Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die." Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites."  Jdg 6:17-24 (NASB)

Even after the angel departs, the Lord’s voice remains with Gideon. The Lord speaks Shalom to Gideon and Gideon responds by naming the altar Yehovah Shalom, the Lord is Peace. This act anchors the voice of the Lord in his life. When we build an altar to the Lord in honor of what He has spoken to us, it transforms us into the Word He has spoken. Gideon, in a time of war, now carries the anointing to bring the people to peace! God will often speak our destiny rather than our current reality. So it is with Gideon.

In order to get to shalom or peace, Gideon has to deal with the worship of the many voices and the sensuality and carnality of the worship.  People love feelings and worship of feelings can be very dangerous. This is NOT to say that feelings are dangerous, just their worship. What does that mean? It means that when we become slaves to our feelings, we lose our Godly perspective. So, sensuality is a method of embedding us in our feelings. We want to be happy and feel good instead of pressing in and experiencing breakthrough and true joy!

The god of feelings is the Baal of Israel at this point. So the Lord tells Gideon to tear down the altar which is at his own father’s home:

"Now on the same night the LORD said to him, "Take your father's bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down." Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father's household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night."  Jdg 6:25-27 (NASB)

This reminds us of Abraham whose Father, Terah was also an idol maker. The Baal altar is where the sensual worship happens and the Asherah is the symbol of it.  Asherah literally means happiness. It is a symbol of doing whatever you can to be “happy”.

Human beings have a fundamental choice to make of happiness versus joy. Happiness is called seeking our own life, by Yeshua. It is basically the goal of the flesh. The flesh seeks gratification and safety. Yeshua warns us that living for our own life can cause us to lose His life.

""For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it. "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?"  Mar 8:35-36 (NASB)

Joy by contrast involves a sacrifice. The sacrifice of what we want and to be known by His call on our lives. He calls this taking up the cross, the picture of sacrifice.

Gideon takes up the cross. He destroys the idols in his father’s house. Of course, idols are there for a reason. They bring comfort to people who would rather put their faith in something they can see that gives the appearance of security against the unknown, than release their faith unto an unseen God. Idolatry is always based on fear.  The fear of the loss of control is temporarily sated by the idol. It isn’t that idol truly works, but it makes the chaos and uncertainty feel under control.  The cost of this is relying on Him who truly loves us. 

Fear always leads to torment. The villagers respond to this fear by wanting to kill Gideon:

"When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. They said to one another, "Who did this thing?" And when they searched about and inquired, they said, "Gideon the son of Joash did this thing." Then the men of the city said to Joash, "Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it." But Joash said to all who stood against him, "Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? Whoever will plead for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar." Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, that is to say, "Let Baal contend against him," because he had torn down his altar."  Jdg 6:28-32 (NASB)

What altars do we need to tear down? What have we put our trust in that is seen and comforting, that gives us the illusion of being happy? Our Asherah pole? What are we trusting in that needs tearing down so we can see the deliverance of God?


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