The more I study the Bible, the more I realize why many believers don't get God's intended results. The reason is that we don't study. To be fair to spiritual leaders, there isn't enough Sunday time to fully unpack specific biblical stories. But what's your excuse?
For far too long, believers have depended on spiritual leaders to do all the heavy lifting. As a result, many of us haven't matured in the faith. Yes, we can practice the faith in the ways we've been taught, but practicing without study is pointless. When you don't study, you signal to God and your enemies that you're ready to fail the test. Unfortunately, when you fail the test, you might be stagnated in life, miss great opportunities, and rest in the land of broke, busted, and disgusted.
So what does this have to do with Gideon? Everything.
Do you know why Gideon won the battle again his oppressors in Judges 6? It wasn't just because God was with Him. If we follow that logic, how many battles have you lost when God was with you? I really want you to think about that.
Gideon won the battle because he broke the covenant with evil altars, which is the part no one talks about. Take a look at Judges 6:25-26 (NIV).
That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering."
It’s important to remember that the battle’s action doesn’t happen until verse 34. So why does God tell Gideon to tear down his father’s altars? Because the Israelites were practicing mixture, and the altars of Baal and Asherah were speaking against the Israelites’ win.
Baal was the god or lord of fertility and weather, specifically rainstorms, and Asherah was the fertility goddess. The scriptures reveal that Israel was impoverished during this time, and Webster’s Dictionary defines impoverished as to be “reduced to poverty, and exhausted of richness or fertility.” So in their desire to rid themselves of oppression, they start worshipping at the feet of mixture.
The Function of Altars
Altars were generally built to offer sacrifices, worship (Gen 8:20), to commemorate an encounter with God (Judges 6:22-24 and Gen 12:7), to memorialize (Ex. 17:14-15 and Josh 22:2-27), to make a covenant (Ex 24:1-8), and to find refuge (1 Kings 1:50-51).
What does mixture look like today? Crystals, amulets, ouji boards, reiki, mediums, etc.
God doesn’t tolerate mixture. I know we like to think it’s all good and He understands, but it’s not, and He doesn’t. He is very clear about certain things in the Bible, and since altars are generally built to appease spirits, it would behoove us to study them.
Think of it this way.
When we are in a church service, and the power of God shows up, why is that? It’s because the congregation worshipping at the sanctuary’s altar has appeased Him. Since the members made sacrifices to get to church, worship, humble, and submit themselves, God will show up to meet them there. The same is true for those who worship other deities. The great misconception is that dark spirits have no power, and that’s not true. We give them power when we sacrifice at their altars.
So to ensure that Gideon wins the future battle, he must first tear down the altars to other gods and replace them with sacrifices to God. What is the sacrifice? The seven year-old bull. This is significant because they were oppressed for seven years, and seven in the Bible is the number of completeness. So since they have been oppressed for this period of time, Gideon has to neutralize the altar by sacrificing a bull the same age.
Essentially, Gideon would have lost the battle if he did not do this. Not because God wanted him to but because God respects laws and order. Since the Israelites built the altars to Baal and Asherah, the spirits had the legal right to the land and the Israelites’ freedom. However, once Gideon silenced their power by destroying them, He was able to continue working with God to ensure that His plans and purposes came to pass.
So what generational altars have you neglected to silence? Remember, this is Gideon's father's altar and not his, but he will still reap the consequences of it if he does not tear it down.
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