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Gideon and the Altar of Baal

This research discusses Gideon and the Altar of Baal, part of the Book of Judges in the Old Testament. Baal was already worshipped in Canaan as the god of agriculture by the time the Israelites arrived. Many of them began worshipping Baal, also. However, when Gideon led them into victorious battle against the Midianite oppressors and destroyed the altar of Baal, the Israelites gave up Baal and supported Gideon, who became king.

When God called Gideon to deliver the Israelites from the Midianites His initial address was both ironic and indicative of future enabling: "the Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour." At the time, Gideon was cowering in fear, threshing the wheat at the base of a hill by a winepress instead of at the top of hill where the wind would be available to blow the chaff away. Gideon was not a mighty man at the time, nor was he valorous. However, God saw in him a man of obedience, however slow that obedience was in developing, and that was what He sought. Before Gideon is called God sent a prophet to give all of Israel His standard: "I am the Lord your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice." God called all of the Israelites to obey Him; only when they refused as a nation did He have to call an individual to lead them to obey as a nation.

Gideon's faith, weak as it was because the nation was suffering for the nation's sins, required signs to assure him that the impossible could still happen. This same thinking is what prompted God to thin out the ranks of Gideon's army from 32,000 (facing a Midianite army at 4.2:1 odds) to less than 1 percent of that (making the odds 450:1). With a people unable to accept the impossible, only man-made religions such as Baal and Ashterah are believable; God must make obvious to the Israelites that He is eminently more believable, because He is the God of the impossible.

Thus, the first of five signs is given...

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Gideon and the Altar of Baal. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 23:28, November 30, 2021, from