Gracious, merciful Lord, thank You for loving me so much and welcoming me into fellowship with You each day.
Read Judges 6:25-40
 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.  Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.”  So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.  In the morning when the people of the town got up, there was Baal’s altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar!  They asked each other, “Who did this?” When they carefully investigated, they were told, “Gideon son of Joash did it.”  The people of the town demanded of Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”  But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, “Are you going to plead Baal’s cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.”  So because Gideon broke down Baal’s altar, they gave him the name Jerub-Baal that day, saying, “Let Baal contend with him.”  Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the Valley of Jezreel.  Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him.  He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.  Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised-  look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you said.”  And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew-a bowlful of water.  Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.”  That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did God show Gideon he'd do as he promised?
As a teacher, I’m always considering how to assess whether my students are really learning. When I was a student, there was a lot of emphasis on the test at the end of the term. Today, teachers acknowledge the value of checking progress throughout. The buzzword for this is “formative assessment.” It’s part of the learning and helps the class stay on track. God is the greatest teacher. He understood formative assessment long before the phrase was created. Gideon is being developed into the “mighty warrior” God made him to be. In yesterday’s passage he had a personal encounter with God and his response was worship; so far so good. Today’s task is a little more demanding: destroy the town’s main object of worship. Notice how Gideon is afraid, but still obeys (27). God had told him not to be afraid (23), so he doesn’t score 100 per cent for this task, but he has learned enough to move on to Mighty Warrior Stage II. He’s given a new name and, more importantly, the Holy Spirit (34). He goes in the strength he has (14), and calls Israel to arms. Even so, the shortcomings of his faith are clear in his request for further assurances (36).
Do you have any fears or lack of faith that’s keeping you from obeying God? If so, ask for God’s strength.
Lord God, I want to always obey You. When my faith is weak, please give me the assurance I need.
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