April 26 - Gideon and Altar Building
Gideon was a person with very low self-esteem, claiming to be from the weakest clan in Manasseh and the least in his father’s house. He complained to the angel of the Lord about all that was happening to Israel and asked why that could happen. There was no way that he could deliver Israel despite being sent by the Lord. He asked for signs again and again, not sure of himself and what he had seen. When the angel approached him, he was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide from the Midianites. Even when he was doing God’s will, he was afraid of the people and his father’s house, so he did it in the dark.
This is God’s way, He chose the weak to shame the strong; he chose the foolish to shame the wise. With God, all things are possible. Even with this person of low self-confidence, of hesitation, of fear, of uncertainty, of hiding, God still accomplish His will through him. If God could use Gideon, He can use many of us who are like Gideon. But despite of all his frailties, he did one thing right in the eyes of the Lord: he built altars.
The first altar he built was after fire had sprung up from the rock to consume the meat and the unleavened cakes on the rock. He realized then he was the angel of the Lord and immediately he knew that he was sinful and should have died in his presence. However, the angel blessed him with peace for he was not going to die. Right after that Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it: “The Lord is Peace” to commemorate his encounter with God.
The second altar was to replace the altar of Baal. After pulling down the altar of Baal and cutting down the Asherah that was beside it at night, Gideon built an altar to the Lord on the top of the stronghold there, with stones laid in order. He took the second bull and offered it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that he had cut down. This second altar was to replace the altar of Baal, right on the same spot. The first altar was to remember his first encounter with God and the second altar was a memorial of his first obedience to God’s calling.
After these two altars, Gideon was ready to lead the Israelites when the Spirit of the Lord clothed him and he sounded the trumpet, calling the Abiezrites to follow him. Then he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun and Napthtali, and they went up to Gideon. Now that he had an army to fight with, his old self came back to him and he asked God for the sign of the fleece. He was seen wavering but God affirmed him. Are you like Gideon, with wavering obedience due to fear and low self-esteem? God is going to use you as long as you know how to build altars, to pray and seek His face. You cannot do it but He can!
Ps 60:1-4 Judg 6:1-40 Luke 22:54-23:12 Prov 14:5-6