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Have you ever been asked to be part of something big—a member of something new and exciting? What was it? How did you respond? What effect did it have on your life?
Building an Army
** Continued from Being Called yesterday **
Gideon rushed home, cooked a goat, made some special bread and broth and brought it back to the winepress. The visitor stood next to a large rock. Seeing what Gideon had brought, he said, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.”
Gideon obeyed. Once the offering was on the rock, the visitor touched it with His staff and fire leapt from within the rock and devoured the offering. A thick cloud of smoke billowed from the rock and enveloped Gideon. Moments later, when the smoke had cleared, Gideon, realising he was alone, fell to his knees in fear at what he had just seen. He cried, “Oh, Sovereign Lord, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!”
“It is all right!” The voice of the Lord filled the air around him. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.”
Gideon built an altar to God on the spot where this amazing event had taken place. He understood this was a special moment in time and he had been chosen for a special work.
That night, God spoke to Gideon again. He was commanded to destroy the altars in his father’s front yard—the altars the entire town worshipped—an Asherah pole and an altar to Baal. In the cover of darkness, Gideon and a couple of servants did as God commanded.
In the morning the townspeople saw the destruction and were irate. It didn’t take long for them to discover Gideon was responsible. When they demanded that Gideon’s father turn his son over to be punished, Gideon’s father had an inspired comeback, “Does Baal need you to do his dirty work? If he is a God, he can punish Gideon himself!” The people were so impressed with this answer they gave Gideon a new name. They started calling him Jerub-baal, which means “Let Baal deal with him!”
The story of Gideon—the god destroyer—spread quickly and the enemies of Israel combined forces and prepared to attack. The very fact that Gideon was alive and well mocked their gods and angered their priests. Gideon must die.
The spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he blew a ram’s horn—calling the people of Israel to battle. From every corner of Israel an army emerged. Farmers and laborers of all kinds began training to become warriors in the Lord’s army. Plows, pitchforks and metal objects of all sorts were melted down to make swords and shields.
When all the Israelites willing to fight had gathered together and stood before Gideon, there were 32,000 men and boys prepared to fight for the Lord and for Gideon. They were tired of being beaten down, mocked and robbed. They had cried out to God in their time of need and God had answered by providing a hero from within their midst—God had called Gideon. And Gideon had called them.
The energy in the camp was a physical thing. Gideon could feel the swell of momentum building as men joined together from all over Israel. Things had dramatically changed compared to when he was hiding alone in the bottom of a winepress. God had showed up. Gideon’s father had stood beside him. And now, an army was amassing that would surely accomplish the will of the Lord. It was only a matter of time.
And from the signs all around them, time was very short.
** Gideon's Story continues in Too Many Men tomorrow **
What would it be like if everyone who knew God worked together to accomplish the work Jesus left for us to do? What impact would that unity of purpose have on the world? What effect would it have on the church? On you?
Before you pray together, ask: What would you like to say to Jesus today?