Least to Greatest
An interesting thing happened in the sixth chapter of Judges, God took a nobody and made him famous.
The Israelites were under the cruel oppression of several surrounding countries. In fact “Israel was reduced to starvation” according to the text. When we first encounter Gideon he is a nobody who is hiding down in a hole, threshing wheat, so that no one will know what he is doing. While there an Angel visits him and he receives an instruction that mystifies him.
Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” – Judges 6:14
It must have seemed like a cruel joke, “Go with the strength you have…” What strength? He’s hiding.
“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” – Judges 6:15
Gideon essentially says, “I’m a nobody from a clan of nobodies.”
The angel tells him that the Lord will be with him, gives Gideon a demonstration of his power, then he disappears.
Silence… until night-fall, when Gideon hears the Lord tell him to destroy the town’s altar to the false god Baal, and use the altar-remains to build an altar to God, and to sacrifice his father’s 2nd best bull on it.
Incredibly, Gideon does it! I wonder if I would have responded the same?
The towns people wake up, and they are ticked. They demand that Gideon be killed.
But Joash (Gideon’s father) shouted to the mob, “Why are you defending Baal? Will you argue his case? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If Baal truly is a god, let him defend himself and destroy the one who knocked down his altar!” – Judges 4:31
Sounds reasonable to me. If I was a god and someone messed with my property, they’d be toast. But, I digress. Back to Gideon. An amazing thing happened at that moment. He lived. And he continued to live. In fact, as a result of not dying, he was renamed by the people.
From then on Gideon was called Jerubbaal, which means “Let Baal defend himself,” because he knocked down Baal’s altar. – Judges 6:32
Gideon took on a god and lived! He was no longer a nobody. He was famous – about as famous as you can get.
That is why when this former nobody called for warriors to join him in battle a little while later, they all came.
Then the Spirit of the LORD took possession of Gideon. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him. He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, summoning their warriors, and all of them responded. – Judges 4:34-35
The Lord knows how to promote those who are called and chosen. They only need to be obedient.
Father, thank you for lessons from Gideon. May I be willing to do whatever you ask. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Got any altars you need destroyed? Jan