Gideon to Jerubbaal

Pastor Josh Combs

“Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, ‘Let Baal contend against him,’ because he broke down his altar.” Judges 6:32

Plucked from obscurity, Gideon would be transformed by God from the most easily forgotten and most likely to go unnoticed member of his family to a national hero who couldn’t be ignored. When the Scripture introduces Gideon, he is farming in secret, because the food supply for his people has been stolen year after year by a raiding army. Poverty and starvation were real issues. The nation of Israel had rebelled against God and the Midianites oppressed them with ruthless force. But the fundamental issue was not primarily food or the invading Midianite armies; it was mass worship of the idol Baal. The people had abandoned fidelity to God and pursued worthless pagan idols. Gideon is instructed by God to tear down the community altar to Baal, which ironically belonged to his father.

Overcome by fear of family and community backlash, Gideon tore the altar down under the cloak of night. When morning came, Gideon became a hunted man. The mob assembled and they were intent on killing this rabble-rouser who had insulted Baal. Gideon’s father intervened and simply stated, if Baal “is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down” (Judges 6:31). And that is when the people decide no longer to call him Gideon (meaning “great warrior”), but Jerubbaal, essentially meaning “enemy of Baal.” The people collectively agreed Gideon had a death wish and Baal was going to be the one to bring down judgment. Little did the people realize that God had declared to Gideon, “The Lord is with you…” (Judges 6:12). Baal was powerless to derail the mighty plans God had for this nobody from nowhere. God had made him a great warrior and had sent him on a divine mission and nothing could stand against the Lord and His man.

We too have an enemy, and his name is Satan. He is the accuser of the brethren, a liar, a thief, and a murderer (John 10:10). The enemy, according to 1 Peter 5:8, is “a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Yet the Scripture is undeniably clear, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The enemy has it out for us and works day and night to destroy us, but Christ has given us the victory. The cross of Calvary and the empty tomb stand as trophies of Christ’s victory that is applied to believers. If you belong to the Lord, the victory is yours. The Lord has called you a great warrior and dispatched you on a divine mission.

Today’s Bible Reading: Judges 6:11–8:35

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