Scripture Read: Judges 6:28-32 When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. 29 They said to one another, “Who did this thing?” And when they searched about and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash did this thing.” 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? Whoever will plead for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar.” 32 Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he had torn down his altar.
Application: Some very important truth is communicated in this section. It speaks to both: idolaters and children of God. I realize that when I use the term idolaters, some may feel that is harsh. Let’s deal with that first. If we are honest we must face the fact that not everyone can be right. That’s the coward’s way out because they do not want to offend anybody. Yet, facing the truth IS offensive. It brings us to a reality that we cannot control. Jesus cannot be Who He claimed to be and every other belief system is also true. How can He be the messiah if the Jews are correct that the Messiah has not yet come? How can He be the ONLY way to God and Mohammad still be the greatest prophet?
Even Paul in his writings agreed that only if Jesus was really Who He claimed to be, the Christian faith is valid. The sad part is we seem to not be mature enough to agree to disagree. We have to kill each other! God is not that way. If you try to twist the Old Testament to say God is not tolerate, what you expose is your own agenda and the fact that you should take a simple course on hermeneutics. God’s judgments in the Old Testament were exactly that! God never punishes anyone for their good works, just their sinful ones, and He has done everything to give them the opportunity to have those evil works forgiven. So, if I am going to be honest, I should respect people’s right to believe what they want, knowing we all will give an account to our Maker in the end. If I die and appear before “Tonga” the volcano god, I will have to admit I have been wrong and Jesus Christ was a liar when He claimed what He claimed about Himself.
So in essence I must face the fact that there is only one true belief and the rest…all of them…are false. If Christ is not real…I am an idolater. Having stated this, let’s look at the truth from this passage. Joash challenges all those that claim that their god is real with the question of why they take it on themselves to defend, even to the point of using violence, their "god". If their god is truly God, then why can't he defend himself? This is a bold point and really cannot be rejected. Anything calling itself "God" does not need something as finite as a human to defend it. This is a fair question that should be asked from anyone that tries to justify using fear or violence to vindicate his or her god. However, the point also should speak to us that claim to worship the God of the Bible. Throughout history and even to this day there are those that claim to belong to the church, yet feel it is their job to defend God from those that do not believe in Him. Insults, demeaning words and even violent acts are used. This should never be! I do not need to defend God – He will contend for Himself. Yes, I can defend the Faith, which means to give reasons why it makes sense and why everyone should consider the claims of Christ. That should be done in love and with respect to each person’s right to disagree. They will answer for themselves and it will not be up to us, but to God. When it states in Scripture that we will judge angels, that is AFTER God has delegated that responsibility to us. We will be passing on what God has judged should be done. Every offense is against Him first and foremost, even the violence done to His people. Let’s learn from Gideon and Joash…God is God and does not need help from us to remain God.
Meditation Questions: When you hear someone insult God what do you feel? What do you do about it? Which feelings are appropriate in this situation; Hatred, Anger, Disgust, Pity, Forgiveness, Petition to God for them? When someone mocks Christ, what does that show you? What should you do about it? Should we expect people to appreciate Christ? Should we be surprised if people hate Jesus? If we get angry back and demean the person, what issues does that expose in our heart? Is it possible that we get upset not only because we love God, but perhaps we are insecure in our own Faith? When you really believe something that is truth, should you fear any other idea or position? What does knowing the Truth do? How does your answer align with your life?