Lying on my blanket in the family cave in the night, I, Gideon, marvel. Today I met the Lord and lived. A god, someone who could work a miracle: consuming the offering I gave him. What else can this tribal god do? Is he stronger than Baal and Asherah?
I hear his velvet voice in the darkness. “Gideon. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down his Asherah pole.”
“Yes, Lord?” I respond.
“Build an altar there to the Lord and offer a bull from your father’s herd.”
Will I do it? Should I do it? My father and the villagers will be angry with me. They depend on Baal and Asherah for rain and crops. If I make Baal and Asherah angry, then my family will be angry with me too. And why did the Lord choose me and not my cousin or my older brother? I am not comfortable with this new role of mine. What is this role, anyway? Am I a prophet, if the Lord is speaking to me?
I have heard of prophets. There was one walking through our village wadi just a few months ago, speaking for the Lord. He said the Lord was unhappy because he brought us out of Egypt with great miracles and told us not to worship the gods of the local peoples around us. But we haven’t paid any attention to that command, said the prophet. No one was listening to this prophet. No one thought the Lord was real. They thought the prophet was crazy.
But I know the Lord is not a joke. I saw that offering go up in a puff of flame. Could it be that Baal and Asherah are the ones that are a joke? Something in me wants to find out. What will Baal and Asherah do if I tear down their high place? If the Lord is with me, maybe I can be bold.
Once it is daytime I find some of my father’s servants and instruct them. When night falls, we climb to the high place, demolish my father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. In the same spot we gather a heap of uncut stones and sacrifice a bull on it from my father’s herd. I retire to my cave, and I quake in the darkness. This may mean the end of good harvests. What will the people do to me?
Sure enough, the word is out who did this thing. In the wadi a crowd gathers around my father, calling for my head. I hide behind a rock and listen. How dared I anger the gods so? The people will suffer. I know I should die for this crime. Will my father call for my death too?
My father rebukes them. “Are you trying to save Baal?” he asks the crowd. “If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar.” The people murmur and back off. I breathe a sigh of relief. I know who the stronger god is. Baal never appeared to me in person, and Baal never accepted an offering in a burst of flame. Baal is no match for the Lord.
I step from behind the shed. “The Lord has spoken to me,” I say. I am amazed when the people quiet down and listen.
Ref: Judges 6, Tim Keller study on Judges
Continued from previous post: https://www.phylliswheeler.com/gideons-journey-begins/
Photo credit: David Williams http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/4477