Tear Down the Idols!
Judges 6:24-26 So Gideon built an altar there to the Lord, and called it Jehovah Shalom. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Now it came to pass the same night that the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.”
When Gideon was called by God, a mighty man of valor, his first task was to tear down the idolatrous altars of Baal and Asherah at his father’s house. Though he was ready to obey this command, his obedience was mixed with fear, so he destroyed the idols at night [Judges 6:27]. When the men of the city realized it was Gideon who destroyed their idols, their allegiance to Baal and Asherah drove them to demand Gideon’s life.
But Gideon’s father Joash came to his son’s defense, rather than defending his own idolatry, saying to the men, “If Baal was destroyed by Gideon, then let Baal destroy him!” [Judges 6:31] Perhaps Gideon’s father was convicted by his son’s obedience. In any case his own love for Gideon and his courage to stand against the people of the town saved Gideon’s life and must have encouraged him and given him faith to continue.
God saw in Gideon a man of faith with the potential to overcome his fears. So the Lord called him and brought him into a challenging situation which drew Gideon’s fear into the light and gave him an opportunity to face it and overcome it. He used Gideon’s father’s courage which seems to have passed to his son after the idols were destroyed. But Gideon still needed to grow in trust to fully accomplish what God had called him to do.
Like Gideon, we are destroying the idols in our lives, and have the potential to even bring conviction to the lives of our parents, so that they too might be restored to worshiping the true God. Because of their love for us they may come to our defense and find themselves serving the Lord’s purposes and even being restored to Him. Gideon’s fear did not prevent him from obeying the Lord, and this is why he affected his father and was called a mighty man of valor.
This story of courage and restoration can inspire us in several ways. First, we must not allow our fears to prevent our obedience. Second, our obedience is likely to inspire repentance and loyalty in those close to us. And third, the Lord sees past our fears and He calls us according to His deeper knowledge of who we are as overcomers in Him.