July 14, 2019

Gideon and Baal

Judges 6:25-32

“Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing?”

—  Isaiah 44:10

The saviors God sent his people often got into trouble with their neighbors for listening to God. The townspeople were so committed to Baal and Asherah that they wanted to kill Gideon for destroying Baal’s altar and the Asherah pole.

This reveals an uncomfortable truth: God’s people didn’t worship other gods now and then. Rather, according to Judges and the Prophets, it happened regularly. It was almost normal. Because Gideon had disturbed their comfortable religion, the townspeople were eager to sacrifice him.

Would Baal avenge the destruction of his altar? The people thought so. But their false gods did not and could not do anything. What could wood, stone, precious metal, or even animals do? The prophets scorned false religions, but that didn’t stop Israel from putting their hope in good-for-nothing idols.

What do we do today? Are there any false gods and altars of sacrifice in our lives? We know that prosperity, positions of authority in church and community, good schools, and a healthy family are all gifts of the Lord. But have we worshiped or sacrificed to them in place of God?

There is only one God worthy of our worship: the Lord Jesus Christ, who shed his own blood on a cross, the final altar, as the sacrifice for our sin. Worship him today and every day. All other gods and their altars are good for nothing.

Lord and Savior, thank you for sacrificing yourself willingly for us on the cruel cross. Help us to worship you only, we pray. Amen.

About the author — Arie C. Leder

Dr. Arie C. Leder is the Martin J. Wyngaarden Senior Professor of Old Testament Studies at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He previously served as pastor at Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church, Trenton, Ontario, and with Christian Reformed World Missions in Latin America. He teaches courses on the Pentateuch and on historical books of the Old Testament.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!