Tuesday, May 19, 2015

In a Pickle

O. T. #520  "In a Pickle"
May 19, 2015
Judges 6-Part 3
Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son that he  may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.   Judges 6:30


Ok, an incidence happened to me once. Have you ever worked very hard on a project for weeks, so you can honor God with it, and someone gets upset at you?  Here I was. The news came to me as second hand, not straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Then I worked even harder to solve the problem so they would not be upset, only to end up with the person not even talking to me. I couldn't win for loosing. I was in a pickle. The only way out of the pickle barrel was to apologize. And so I did. In the scope of things, does it really matter who was right or wrong? After all, a right relationship is more important than things. Gideon found himself in a pickle when obeying God, too. Check it out.

After the Promised Land was distributed and everyone finally departed to each his own, Judah and Simeon tribes rushed in to finish conquering theirs right away. The other tribes did not. In fact, they partially obeyed God's command to completely annihilate their enemies occupying each tribes' land.(Deut. 7) God did not want the pagan idol worshipers being neighbors of His children, thus ending up intermarrying with them and joining in worshiping idols instead of God. This actually happened.

So that is where we are, over 250 years have passed. God is preparing the fifth judge, Gideon to deliver the Israelites from their enemies' oppression, the Midianites (7 years). This is the fifth sin cycle in which Israel is living.

After the Lord Jesus Himself appeared to Gideon and commissioned him to deliver the Israelites, Gideon prepared a sacrifice and offered it upon a rock.
What was Gideon's first assignment which stirred up the whole community, causing him to be in a pickle, or more seriously, this life threatened?
  • In verse 25, the Lord, that same night, the Lord told Gideon to take two bulls of his father's herd and tear down his father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. (verse 25)
  • Also, build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the same rock he used earlier. (verse 26)
  • Using the wood of the Asher pole he cut down, Gideon was to offer a 7 year old second bull as a burnt offering.
  • Gideon took 10 men and did as the Lord instructed him, only doing it at night because  he was afraid of his family and the men of the town. (verse 27)
  • That morning, the men of the town saw Baal's altar demolished and the Asherah pole cut down and used to sacrifice a bull on a newly built altar. (verse 28)
  • Of course they wanted to know who did such a thing. Carefully investigating  the matter, Gideon's excursion was found out. (verse 29)
What a special man, to have been chosen by the Lord for such an important task.
This stirred up the whole community of Baal worshipers. Gideon's father may have been the custodian of the Baal cut-center serving the entire town, and the majority of people resorted there for worship.  (Falwell)

That would explain why the people were so upset at the matter that they wanted to kill Gideon. Some of them were Israelites, too.  Now we understand why Gideon did his tearing down at night.

In Deut. 13:6-11, God said idolaters must be stoned to death, but these Israelites wanted to stone Gideon for tearing down an idol and worshiping God! When you begin to accomplish something for God, you may be criticized by the very people who should support you.  (Life Application Study Bible) 

Are we prepared to obey God no matter the consequences? Even if family or friends give us problems? When the enemy is right in our face, do we continue to stand for God? Be prepared, friends.


So what happened to Gideon? (Obviously he wasn't killed because we know he defeated the Midianites later.)

  • The hostile crowd of towns men demanded Gideon's father, Joash, to bring his son to them for he must die for what he had done.
  • Joash defended his son for such an act of bravery by asking the townspeople if they would plead for Baal. Whoever fights for Baal shall be put to death by morning! (There must have been a heart to heart discussion between these two family members.)
  • By asking will ye save him, he was implying that Baal, if he were really a god, should be capable of saving himself.
  • If Baal could not save himself, how do they expect him to save his worshipers?
  • Joash must have been convicted by all of this happening and challenged by his son's actions.
  • Since Baal could not prevent his own destruction, Joash no longer believed that Baal was a god.
As an overview, here is an Israelite man who had compromised with Baal worship and somehow had convinced the community to follow him. Now, that same man was questioning the authenticity of such worship and was defending the action of his son. (Falwell)

To sum it up, Gideon's father must have been successful in defending his son Gideon and turned the city to support this new leader. This previously coward became a courageous leader when he obeyed God. After all, 32,000 men formed an army under his leadership.

When we are certain of God's instructions for us, and we follow them, He will protect us in the process so His will is accomplished and He gets the glory.

What a God we serve!


Serve God, no matter who gets upset.

Apologize when hurting someone's feelings, but not for doing God's work.

Forgive and love folks in spite of their ways.

Help others when they end up in a pickle, to work it out.

Let Jesus love others through me.

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