Evidently, Gideon’s father had an altar of Baal and a grove to go along with it. As a Hebrew, he knew
the God of Israel. It seems like he had everything covered. Having both belief systems covered is not without problems especially since the Midianites were attacking and destroying crops and their way of life.
Gideon had asked God why all the problems were happening to them. They were hiding from the Midianites that had invaded their land. Times were tough, they were not living freely.
God gave Gideon a solution which was to destroy his father’s altar of Baal and cut down the grove. He did what God said to do and quickly the men of the city arose against Gideon. They went to his father and wanted him to give them Gideon so they could kill him.
30 Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.
31 And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.
32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar. Judges 6:30-32
The Hebrews were having problems because they had one foot in paganism and one foot their own religion. It sounds like a good way to get along, but it isn’t really. God wanted His people to live freely and abundantly enjoy the plans He had for them. If someone else tried to remove this freedom and abundance, there was pressure and a fight. The enemy cultures in that time were aggressive and violent. Tolerance of the invaders was not healthy.
Joash, Gideon’s father, had an interesting comeback about Baal. If Gideon was Baal’s enemy, then Baal, being a so-called god, should be able to take care of the situation if he is truly a god.
From that time on Gideon was called Jerubbaal or ‘enemy of Baal’. God had chosen Gideon to save Israel. God’s battle plan was very unusual. It had a strong underlying theme of believing God as I wrote about in the previous blog. It is a fantastic story of power and reliance on God. Once Gideon believed and was reassured about the job God wanted him to do, he could get it done because God empowered him and showed him how.