Raising Up Deliverers
Introduction:In this Session, we will continue the narrative of Gideon through Judges 6:25-40. This is a very exciting section of Scripture because we see the Lord building up Gideon’s faith so that deliverance would come to Israel over the Midianites who were oppressing them.
If we were to summarize the chain of events in Gideon’s life so far, we would see the following spiritual truths highlighted to us.
1 – When the people abandon the LORD, they reap what they have sown in disobedience.
2 – Affliction from the enemy is a catalyst for repentance.
3 – The LORD responds quickly to repentant hearts and God hears the intercession of the oppressed.
4 – The LORD relates to us based on our destinies and not our current brokenness, or discouragement.
5 – Encounters with God build our faith and cause us to worship the LORD.
a) “That same night” – Gideon had just encountered the LORD as the God of peace. Gideon learned that the LORD pursed him first and sought him out, Gideon learned that the LORD related to him based on his destiny and not in the condition he was in, Gideon learned that the LORD was encouraging, patient and trustworthy. Now it was time for Gideon to move in faith and not live in compromise anymore.
b) The Lord required Gideon to tear down the idolatrous altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it, because the LORD could only move in a greater measure in Gideon’s life, when the LORD becomes the only affection of his heart. It is the same for us as well. When we fulfill the first commandment, our relationship with Him increases and He can do greater things in our lives.
c) Baal – the Canaanite god of that had charge over the weather. We can see the deep compromise that the Abiezerites and the Israelites were in. They were worshipping Baal alongside Yahweh. They were not trusting the LORD’s ability to provide rain and crops. When the Covenant blessings of the LORD stopped because of disobedience to the Covenant, instead of repenting, they moved to another god who might help them. The Abiezerites were descended from Joseph, and their name means. “my father is help”. We can see that the LORD was bringing them back to their identity as His children.
d) Asherah – was the female cohort/wife to Baal, and she was the goddess of fertility, and is referred to repeatedly in Jeremiah as the “queen of heaven”. Because of the Israelites compromise in idolatry with Baal and Asherah, they were eventually exiled from the Promised Land.
e) “A proper kind of altar” – Verse 26 is referencing the command in Exodus 20:25 – If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. The LORD does not want a manmade altar decorated with props, because He does not need glory from man and He is a God of fellowship and friendship that lives in our hearts, and not outward extravagances.
f) Gideon tearing down the altar of Baal and using the Asherah for the wood of the sacrifice established the LORD alone as leader and head. Notice the age of the bull, seven years; 7 the number of perfection, completion or breakthrough, the Midianites oppressed the Israelites for 7 years, showing us that each year of the bull represented each year of oppression.
a) Gideon is still growing in boldness of faith because he destroyed the altar of Baal and the Asherah pole by night. Gideon needed to overcome the fear of man and the LORD was Fathering Gideon through this season so that he would become a mighty warrior/hewer.
b) It is better to obey God in timidity and fear, than to disobey Him. The LORD will work with us and grow our boldness in obedience. The LORD most likely desired Gideon to boldly destroy these idols and proclaim the deliverance of God to Israel. However, Gideon was still growing in identity and calling.
a) Verses 28-30 reveal to us the affections of the hearts of the people. They loved their idols more than they loved their Covenant keeping God who delivered them, loved them and took them to be His own. Deuteronomy 12:3 – Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out their names from those places.
b) Gideon’s people demanded a death for blasphemy against these idols. Only a God who is Living can be blasphemed. Jeremiah 10:14 – Everyone is senseless and without knowledge; every goldsmith is shamed by his idols. The images he makes are a fraud; they have no breath in them.
a) Joash – “given by the LORD” – Gideon’s father was living far from the declaration of his name. Because the altar was owned by Joash, he had the last word regarding the request of the townspeople to put Gideon to death. Joash defends his son and uses logic that if Baal is really a god, then he can defend himself.
b) “Let Baal contend with him” – this nickname given to Gideon was not intended as a name of affection, but a curse. The LORD spoke to Gideon and told him, “I will be with you”; Gideon now needed to live in faith and not fear of the word curses of others over his life.
a) Now that Gideon had established the worship and knowledge of God to the people by destroying idolatry, he was propelled into the next season of his breakthrough. In the narrative of Gideon, we see a progressive building of faith and obedience that leads to greater breakthrough in his life and the lives of others. The favor of God on our lives is not just for us, but for the benefit of those around us.
b) A massive army assembles to attack the land in the Valley of Jezreel (God sows). Gideon was faced with the choice to fear the multi-nation army or see this as an opportunity for God to do something great. Testimonies always flow from impossibilities.
c) “The Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon” – Hebrew – came on – labash – to dress, wear, clothe, to put on clothing, to be fully clothed, array, to wear – Strong’s H3847 – This is a wonderful prophetic precursor that prophesies the New Covenant believer’s relationship with the Holy Spirit.
d) Gideon blew the shofar and sent messengers throughout the land and the people responded to the call. Proclamations that are anointed by the LORD will always gather the people.
a) In the fleece confirmation exchange with God and Gideon, we see the following: 1 – The LORD is kind, patient and willing to provide his sons and daughters multiple confirmations to encourage us. 2 – The fleece confirmations built up Gideon’s faith and strengthened him to grow in obedience and boldness. 3 – The LORD enjoys relationship with His sons and daughters and will meet us in any circumstance and help us move forward.