Not by Our Own Might or Power, But by His Spirit

Syncretism is what happens when you worship both God and other gods, obeying some of what God says and some of what Satan says. Jesus will not allow any syncretism in Gideon’s life and does not allow any syncretism in our life. Gideon’s father was a pagan worshiping the demon god Baal and demon goddess Asherah. This would have brought generational cursing on the family, as Satan had a foothold that had become a stronghold. In addition to the people being subjected by soldiers in physical war, they were also subjected by demons in spiritual war. To break the curse and sever all ties to the demonic, Gideon needed to demolish strongholds in his family, sacrifice to the Lord the seven-year-old bull (which corresponded to the seven years of oppression), and replace them with the worship of God alone. Sometimes, living out and sharing our faith is most difficult when done with our family members. This explains in part why Gideon came to destroy the family altar of idolatry at night, when everyone was asleep, much like when Nicodemus years later would visit Jesus in the darkness of night. 

Upon finding the altars to the demons Baal and Asherah torn down, the men in the town who were also demonic cult worshippers demanded that Gideon’s father Joash execute his son. In a deft move, Joash says that, if Baal wants Gideon dead and he really is a powerful god, then Baal can prove himself by taking Gideon’s life, but that he would not lay a hand on his son. On that day, Gideon (which means “hearers” or “chopper”) picked up the nickname “Jerubbaal,” which means, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down Baal’s altar. 

In the next scene, a coalition of armies from surrounding nations began their march further into Israel. In the life of Gideon, we learn a tremendous lesson for our own lives. Like Gideon, we often have evil working around us, certain to overtake us. However, like Gideon, we can have the Holy Spirit anoint and empower us to overcome and defeat the evil that is against us. We see this very thing happening when, “the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon…” The secret to his victory is the same secret for your victory. We cannot overcome evil without the Holy Spirit. Thankfully, Jesus said that if we simply stop and ask for a fresh anointing in the Holy Spirit, the Father will give Him to us (Luke 11:11-12).  

Filled with the Holy Spirit, Gideon begins to lead, assembling the beginning of an army to follow him into battle despite no training or experience. 

This is the most difficult thing God called Gideon to do. What is the most difficult thing God has called you to do? How did you respond compared to his response?

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