Scripture Reading: Judges 6:1-7:8 / John 5:16-30 / Psalm 57:7-11
There are times in life when you are challenged by God and given an assignment that is bigger than you have ever tackled before. Such was the case for me a little over a year ago. I had a passion to have our congregation meet with God everyday in His Word and in prayer. As I was reading my daily Bible, God dropped an assignment in my heart…write a daily devotional designed to encourage others in their daily time with God. It has been challenging and time consuming but very rewarding for me personally and spiritually.
God at times has to stretch us for our own good and for a greater purpose. Gideon was approached by the angel of The Lord and told, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12) Gideon didn’t feel mighty or powerful but fearful. Midian had severely oppressed Israel and ruled over them with cruelty and wickedness. Little did Gideon imagine the significance, plan and purpose God had for him… to deliver Israel from Midian bondage.
The first thing God had Gideon do was to get his own house in order. God instructed him, “Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. (vs.25) Every man likes to tear things apart so this should have been a joy for Gideon but it would take a great deal of courage to denounce his father and confront Israel’s apostasy. Baal was worshipped as a god and Asherah was recognized as his wife, the goddess of the sea. Idolatry was to be confronted and removed as spiritual apostasy brought national humiliation and bondage on Israel.
God also told him, “Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God…” (vs.26) Gideon would take the wood from the demolished idol and build an altar to God offering a bull as a sacrifice. Building up is at times more difficult than tearing down but Gideon was faithful to God’s instructions. He did tear down and build up but he was afraid and “He did it at night rather than in the daytime.” (vs.27)
The following morning, the people were infuriated and wanted to kill Gideon because of the desecration. What Gideon feared was about to come upon him but his father, Joash, intervened and spoke against the hostile crowd, “If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself…and they called Gideon “Jerub-Baal”, “Let Baal contend with him.” Gideon did not need to fear because God was big enough to contend with any force that would oppose him.
Gideon still needed reassurance and God responded with unmistakable clarity. He would need it because the task would require even greater faith. I pray that like Gideon, God has revealed Himself as you have read, reflected, and meditated on His Word. This is my 365th devotional and I have been faithful to God’s assignment. I will continue to share some abbreviated devotional thoughts but it’s my prayer that your devotional passion will deepen… God will speak; He has an assignment for you!
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!