July 23: Judges 6

Randall Grossman
"The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor"- Judges 6:12

Gideon is one of the heroes of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 (verse 32), but he looks like anything but that in this chapter. Met by the angel of the LORD while beating out wheat in a winepress (even us moderns sense something cowardly about that), Gideon is called by God to deliver his people from the Midianites. And in spite of his natural fear and weakness, the presence of the LORD empowers him to lead Israel to victory. His story is told in chapters 6-8 of Judges, a book which recounts the recurring cycle of sin and deliverance of God's people in the land of promise before the rise of the monarchy. Gideon is one of several "judges" or deliverers featured in the book, but the emphasis is more on the faithfulness of God than on the courage of these leaders.

Who is the "angel of the LORD"?  Probably this is an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ, for sacrifice is offered to and received by him, something an ordinary angel would never command nor allow. Notice also how the same person is called "the LORD" in verse 16. The presence and power of the LORD with Gideon will be all that is needed to defeat the enemies of Israel. 

What is the first step to delivering God's people from bondage? Is it gathering an army?  No, it starts closer to home. The first thing Gideon must do is put his own house in order. "Pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God" (verses25-26). Gideon was called upon to confront his own father and tear down the idols in his own family before he was qualified to face the outward enemies of his people. 

Isn't that so true in our lives? We want God to rescue us from our problems, but first we must face our own sinful priorities. What idols does God want you to pull down in your heart and family today?