Go Against the Flow
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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 men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.  In the morning when the men 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 men 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 that day they called Gideon “Jerub-Baal,” saying, “Let Baal contend with him,” because he broke down Baal’s altar.  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 upon 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. This time make the fleece dry and the ground 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 graciously accommodate Gideon’s doubts?
With his very life at stake, Gideon is asked to be outrageously countercultural and to glorify God where he has been widely forsaken. I wonder what he felt when he heard God tell him to destroy his father’s pagan altar (25). It was clearly a scary thing to do because he waited until nightfall (27) and, come the morning, the townspeople were crying for his blood (30). I wonder whether he knew his father would defend him, or whether he thought his father would be as angry as the crowd.
Thousands of years later, our challenge is remarkably similar. Will we glorify God in our families, workplaces, neighborhoods, local communities, and anywhere we have influence among our culture? Will we be vocal about denouncing the false gods of our culture? Will we be genuinely and compassionately involved in people’s lives, enough to help lead them from worshiping false gods to worshiping the true God? It’s quite a challenge. However, v. 34 says that “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon.” We rely on the same Spirit of God to empower us in our battles and to enable spiritual victories.
What challenges do you face in living for God in our culture? How are you relying on God to meet them?
Mighty Lord, help me to rely fully on You and Your power to work against all that opposes You.
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