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Judges 6. Gideon, part 14: Idolatry or carnality cannot coexist with the service of God.

JUDGES-6-170312
length: 85:18 - taught on Mar, 12 2017
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Title: Judges 6. Gideon, part 14: Idolatry or carnality cannot coexist with the service of God.        

 

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JDG 6:22 When Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord, he said, "Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face."

 

As is our fear of entrusting our entire soul to God so is Gideon's fear irrational. He can't defeat Midian as one man if he's dead.

 

"God just came to me and right to my face gave me this enormous mission to free His entire nation from the worst oppression it has ever seen, but before I could do anything, I died because I saw His face."

 

Fear makes us illogical.

 

JDG 6:23 And the Lord said to him, "Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die."

 

The Lord speaks to him and comforts him. He will not die. "Peace to you," is a greeting of friendship and acceptance and not of judgment.

 

God's promises, repeated to us over and over so that they leap into our minds at the proper time, comforts us and banishes our fear.

 

JDG 6:24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it The Lord is Peace. To this day [the writing of the book about 250 years later] it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

 

Out of gratitude, Gideon built and altar there, outside of Ophrah, near the oak and he called it Jehovah-Shalom.

 

JDG 6:25 Now the same night it came about that the Lord said to him, "Take your father's bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it;

 

JDG 6:26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly manner, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down."

 

JDG 6:27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord had spoken to him; and it came about, because he was too afraid of his father's household and the men of the city to do it by day, that he did it by night.

 

The beginning of Gideon's mission comes that very night. The things that we are called to do all run on God's timing.

 

The Lord doesn't give Gideon time to warm up to the idea that he has been called by God to deliver Israel, and it is likely that given too much time to think it over would just fill his soul with fear over it. God puts him to work right away.

 

There's something very refreshing in being about a task in the plan of God, even the mundane, for too much time pondering instead of doing leads to trouble.

 

Idleness is the devil's playground.

 

It is obvious why this must be done right away. Nothing else can be done until first his own house is cleansed of idol worship.

 

In order to be able to carry out the work entrusted to him of setting Israel free, it was necessary that Gideon should first of all purify his father's house from idolatry, and sanctify his own life and labor to Jehovah by sacrificing a burnt-offering.

 

JDG 6:25 Now the same night it came about that the Lord said to him, "Take your father's bull and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it;

 

In verse 26 only one bull is mentioned. There are many arbitrary explanations for the two bulls, but the best explanation is that there is only one bull.

 

The divine command is to destroy the altar, both the Baal altar and the Asherah pole that was dedicated to the female deity. Gideon is to pull them down with the bull, build an altar to Jehovah on top of it, and then use the wood from the Asherah to burn the bull in a proper burnt offering.

 

There is a lot of meaningful symbolism or typology here.

 

The Hebrew can read "bullock of bullocks" and may therefore be referring to a prime bullock. At 7 years it would be very mature.

 

Several good commentators make this conclusion and being the simplest that fits, it is usually the best explanation; not that this is the most important part of the passage.

 

"Take your father's prime bull of seven years old and pull down the altar." God used in His service what the idolatrous father prized.

 

If God was going to use Gideon to deliver Israel, he must first remove from his own house the very element that brought on the divine judgment to begin with, which was idolatry.

 

Only after idolatry is removed can an altar to Jehovah be built. They can't be side by side.  

 

For the same reason we must be crucified with Christ before we can be resurrected with Christ. Unbelievers cannot serve God and neither can carnal Christians, whether they are involved in moral or immoral degeneracy. We cannot serve two masters.

 

We must first give ourselves to the Lord and then we are prepared to give ourselves in the service of others. Carnality cannot coexist with divine fruit.

 

A lot of Christians over the centuries have attempted to serve God and the church while still being lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, unholy, reckless, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Such a description is given in 2TI 3:2-5 in which the Spirit adds that they hold to a form of godliness, but deny the power of godliness. Change must occur within us first through our own faith in the plain teachings of the word of God and then we will be fit to serve God and others in our own ministries.

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