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1 Baal + 1 Pole = 2 Bull

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I. The Situation

Judges 6:1–6 NLT
1 The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years. 2 The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, 4 camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. 5 These enemy hordes, coming with their livestock and tents, were as thick as locusts; they arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count. And they stayed until the land was stripped bare. 6 So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord for help.
Summary:
The Israelites were starving as a result.
After Deborah, the fourth judge of Israel died.
The Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord so the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for 7 years.
The Midianites were cruel to the Israelites to the point where the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in mountains, caves and strongholds.
When the Israelites planted their crop, the Midianites would come down, attack Israel and camp and destroy all their crops and cattle.
The Israelites were starving as a result.
Application:
I believe there are some people here that remembered when life was going well and living for God was manageable/doable. But then life happens and our spiritual routine/discipline takes a hit. Before we know it, we find ourselves in a place where we never thought we would be in:
Spiritually hungry.
Feeling like God has deserted us.
Frustrated.
Angry.
Praying but thinking God isn’t listening.
Just when you think you are moving forward, you are knocked back even farther.
The Israelites were following what was said in
Judges 2:18–19 NLT
18 Whenever the Lord raised up a judge over Israel, he was with that judge and rescued the people from their enemies throughout the judge’s lifetime. For the Lord took pity on his people, who were burdened by oppression and suffering. 19 But when the judge died, the people returned to their corrupt ways, behaving worse than those who had lived before them. They went after other gods, serving and worshiping them. And they refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.
.
They would behave and follow the Lord as long as there was a judge over them. But as soon as the judge died, they went back to their corrupt ways and went even further than before. The Lord helped them when they cried out to the Lord for help.
Are you in a similar place this morning? Whatever situation you find yourself in, you are done. Ready to give up. You have tried everything that you can think of, even the things you think worked the last time. Can I encourage you this morning to stop blaming God for your situation, take responsibility for it and ask Him for help!

II. The Lord’s Answer

Judges 6:7–12 NLT
7 When they cried out to the Lord because of Midian, 8 the Lord sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of slavery in Egypt. 9 I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land. 10 I told you, ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you have not listened to me.” 11 Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. 12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!”
Judges
To the people (7-10)
The Lord is the one who brought you out of Egypt, rescued you from the Egyptians and others, drove out the inhabitants of the land they were given, and told you not to worship the God of the Amorites which is what you are doing.
To Gideon (11-12)
The angel of the Lord addresses Gideon as a mighty hero; man of valor. This is a total contradiction of how Gideon views himself.
Application:
Many times we don’t want to cry out to the Lord because we don’t want to hear what He has to say.
The people cry out to God and the Lord answers by reminding them who He is, what He has done for them and how they have failed to uphold their covenant with the Lord. It is their fault for being in the situation they are in. Many times we are quick to blame God for a situation we put ourself in, rather than listen to why we are in the situation to begin with.
The angel of the Lord talks to Gideon and addresses him as a mighty hero; man of valor. This is a total contradiction of how Gideon views himself. Just like Gideon, how many times are we slow to go to the Lord because we don’t see ourselves as He sees us?
I see myself as: God sees me as:
Unforgivable Forgiven ()
Unlovable Loved ()
Worthless Chosen (; )
Weak Strong ( )
Alone Never Alone (; )

III. Gideon’s Response

Judges 6:13–32 NLT
13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” 14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” 15 “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!” 16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” 17 Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. 18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.” He answered, “I will stay here until you return.” 19 Gideon hurried home. He cooked a young goat, and with a basket of flour he baked some bread without yeast. Then, carrying the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out and presented them to the angel, who was under the great tree. 20 The angel of God said to him, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.” And Gideon did as he was told. 21 Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” 23 “It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” 24 And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lord is peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day. 25 That night the Lord said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it. 26 Then build an altar to the Lord your God here on this hilltop sanctuary, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town. 28 Early the next morning, as the people of the town began to stir, someone discovered that the altar of Baal had been broken down and that the Asherah pole beside it had been cut down. In their place a new altar had been built, and on it were the remains of the bull that had been sacrificed. 29 The people said to each other, “Who did this?” And after asking around and making a careful search, they learned that it was Gideon, the son of Joash. 30 “Bring out your son,” the men of the town demanded of Joash. “He must die for destroying the altar of Baal and for cutting down the Asherah pole.” 31 But Joash shouted to the mob that confronted him, “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 broke down his altar!” 32 From then on Gideon was called Jerub-baal, which means “Let Baal defend himself,” because he broke down Baal’s altar.
Judges 6:13–31 NLT
13 “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” 14 Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” 15 “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!” 16 The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” 17 Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. 18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.” He answered, “I will stay here until you return.” 19 Gideon hurried home. He cooked a young goat, and with a basket of flour he baked some bread without yeast. Then, carrying the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out and presented them to the angel, who was under the great tree. 20 The angel of God said to him, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.” And Gideon did as he was told. 21 Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. 22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” 23 “It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” 24 And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lord is peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day. 25 That night the Lord said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it. 26 Then build an altar to the Lord your God here on this hilltop sanctuary, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.” 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the Lord had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town. 28 Early the next morning, as the people of the town began to stir, someone discovered that the altar of Baal had been broken down and that the Asherah pole beside it had been cut down. In their place a new altar had been built, and on it were the remains of the bull that had been sacrificed. 29 The people said to each other, “Who did this?” And after asking around and making a careful search, they learned that it was Gideon, the son of Joash. 30 “Bring out your son,” the men of the town demanded of Joash. “He must die for destroying the altar of Baal and for cutting down the Asherah pole.” 31 But Joash shouted to the mob that confronted him, “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 broke down his altar!”
Judges
Judges
He questions whether God is with them (v 13)
God says He is sending him; in other words, He is with him
He questions God choosing him (v 15)
God tells him plainly that He will be with Gideon and it won’t be more than he can handle
He asks for a sign (v 17-18)
The angel burns up the offering from the rock (vv 20-21)
Gideon:
Asks for forgiveness (v 22)
Builds an altar named the Lord is Peace (v 24)
Obeys the Lord in tearing down the altar of Baal and the Asherah pole and replacing it with an altar to the Lord and burning the second bull on it with the pole as fuel. (vv. 25-27)
Took ten men (27a)
Did it at night because afraid of other members of father’s household and the people of the town. (27b)
Application:
The Canaanites worshiped Baal as the sun god and as the storm god—he is usually depicted holding a lightning bolt—who defeated enemies and produced crops.
An Asherah pole was a sacred pole (sometimes carved and sometimes not) or a tree planted by the “high places” where pagan worshipers sacrificed. Asherah was one of the names given for a fertility goddess in the region. Asherah’s consorts varied, depending on the cultic beliefs of the people—sometimes Asherah was said to consort with the Canaanite creator-god, El; or with the god of fertility, Ba’al; or, horrifically, with the Lord God Himself. Certainly, as a fertility goddess, those who worshiped Asherah were also often involved in sexual practices prohibited by the God of Israel.
Gideon shows the mindset of the Israelites at this time by questioning whether God is with them. God answers by saying He is sending Gideon.
Gideon then questions why God chooses him, again, because of the way he views himself. God tells Gideon as plainly as He could that He will be with Gideon and it won’t be more than he can handle.
When we come to Christ, we need to start viewing ourselves and our identity through Jesus Christ. Stop seeing yourself as you have always done. Start believing what the Lord says about you and what He can do through you!
Your past doesn’t define you.
Your job doesn’t define you.
Your position doesn’t define you.
Your family doesn’t define you. (parents, siblings, spouse, kids, extended family, etc.)
Your bank account doesn’t define you.
What you have or don’t have doesn’t define you.
What God says about you and what Jesus Christ did for you defines who you are! And when you understand that, you can walk in it and do what God calls you to do! Just as God told Gideon to tear down the altar of Baal and Asherah pole, God is calling us to tear down altars in our life and to put the Lord in His rightful place: as Number One.

IV. Gideon’s New Name

Judges 6:32 NLT
32 From then on Gideon was called Jerub-baal, which means “Let Baal defend himself,” because he broke down Baal’s altar.
Jerub-baal which means “let Baal defend himself”
A result of breaking down the altar of Baal. He got his new name AFTER doing what the Lord called him to do (walking in his calling).
Application:
Just as Gideon received a new name as a result of what God did through him, we also have a new name when we decide to walk in the calling God has given to us!
Conqueror
Overcomer
Child of God
Royal priest
Holy nation
Forgiven
Loved
Chosen
Conclusion:
Just as Gideon took ten men and two bulls to accomplish what the Lord asked him to do, so we need others in our life to help tear down altars we have set up. And when the Lord is back where He is supposed to be (#1), we offer our living body as the sacrifice to Him!
Just as Gideon took ten men and two bulls to accomplish what the Lord asked him to do, so we need others in our life to help tear down altars we have set up. And when the Lord is back where He is supposed to be (#1), we offer our living body as the sacrifice to Him!
Where are you this morning?
1) Maybe at the beginning with the Israelites wondering where God is? Angry? Frustrated? Never making any progress in your spiritual relationship with Jesus Christ? If so, I would encourage you this morning, no matter what the situation, stop blaming God or being angry at God and, instead, cry out to Him as the Israelites did! He will not only hear you but He will also answer you!
2)How do you view/define yourself? By your past? Your job? Family? Position? Bank account? Can I encourage you this morning to stop defining yourself by temporal and insignificant things, and define yourself by how God sees you and what God says about you! As you do this, you will also live according to your new name rather than what others think or say about you.
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