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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fleas and Fellowship- Who’s in your crew? Judges (2)

File:Maarten van Heemskerck 024.jpg

How we decide who will go into battle with us?

Sorry, history lesson first:

You already know this but, the Israelites spent 40 years wandering around the desert, for what should have been a 4 day trip. This happened because they were repeating offenders, and God waited them out until a new generation was born. So, finally, the Israelites have come into the Promised Land, but they couldn’t keep their act together. And, this is why I love the Old Testament; these people are US!

They stopped worshipping God, Who had just saved their hind-quarters, and started worshipping Baal, so the Lord left them to suffer for their sins. Enter the Midianites. The Midianites lived near the desert on the eastern side of Israel, and they decided to come against the tribes. For each of seven years that this struggle went on, the Midianites swept over their land at the time of harvest, and carried away all the crops of grain, until the Israelites had no food left for themselves, including sheep and cattle. Along with the army, the Midianites brought their own flocks and camels which ate all the grass of the field. The people of Israel were driven away from their villages and their farms, and were compelled to hide in the caves of the mountains.

One day, a man named Gideon was threshing out wheat in his hidden place, when he saw an angel sitting-under an oak-tree. The angel said to him: "You are a brave man, Gideon, and the Lord is with you. Go out boldly, and save your people from the power of the Midianites." Gideon answered the angel: "O, Lord, how can I save Israel? Mine is a poor family in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house." And the Lord said to him: "Surely I will be with you, and I will help you drive out the Midianites."

Then the Lord told Gideon that before setting his people free from the Midianites, he must first set them free from the service of Baal and Asherah, the two idols they most often worshipped.

One of the altars to Baal, and an image of Asherah were near Gideon’s father’s house. One night Gideon went out with ten men, and threw down the image of Baal, and cut the wooden image of Asherah into pieces, destroying them. In its place he built an altar to the God of Israel; and on it laid the broken pieces of the idols for wood, and with them offered a young ox as a burnt-offering.

On the next morning, when the people of the village went out to worship their idols, they found that the false idols had been cut up, and the altar taken away. In its place an altar of the Lord, and on it the pieces of the Asherah were burning as wood under a sacrifice to the Lord. The people looked at the broken and burning idols; and they said: "Who has done this?"

Someone said: "Gideon, the son of Joash, did this last night."

Then they came to Joash, Gideon's father, and said: "We are going to kill your son because he has destroyed the image of Baal, who is our god."


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