And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said to him, Take your father's young bullock…
The training of Gideon has now fairly commenced, and it is not allowed to lag. There is no interval between command and execution. The growth of Gideon's spiritual character is gradual, and there is a beautiful fitness in each step; but it is also rapid and decisive.
I. IT IS A RELIGIOUS WORK OF INDIVIDUAL AND NATIONAL CONSEQUENCE. An idolatrous sitar to be razed, an altar to the true God to be reared. The plan of the altar of Baal was different from that of the altar of Jehovah, and could not be mistaken for it. The whole neighbourhood knew. How many such substitutions are taking place every day - the symbol of wickedness and unbelief giving place to that of faith. Our works are our true words to men. Much of the Christian religion consists in witnessing. There cannot be too marked a contrast, if it be real. A religious revolution of the most radical description took place. The whole question of religion was once more raised, and settled otherwise.
II. IT WAS A COMPLETE WORK. Not only destruction, but construction; negative and positive. All true witnessing should be such. Negative criticism merely is mischievous. It is not enough to declare ourselves by abstention and inaction, or by rebuke and captious judgment; we must do the works of God. We must build as well as destroy.
III. IT WAS A TEST OF his SINCERITY.
1. It committed Gideon. There could be no drawing back. It was a challenge to the whole people. The hill-top was seen from afar.
2. It required energy. No slight task even as a manual labour. Organisation, leadership, vigorous and timely effort were necessary.
3. Courage was demanded. A new beginning, a great reform, had to be made. Difficult to take the initiative. Many reasons could have been found for conformity to established usages. The most rancorous hatred would be at once aroused. Only high faith and clear, Heaven-informed purpose could have secured his success.
III. IT WAS A PERSONAL, IMMEDIATE, AND DOMESTIC WORK. Joash, infirm as his faith in Baal was, was responsible for the erection and maintenance of the altar of Baal. The worship was popular, and he patronised it. That had to be publicly retracted. How near at hand was the field of Gideon's first work I His own life had to be openly changed; his home had to witness his zeal for God. There are many who profess to be at a loss for something by which to testify their love for God and righteousness. Let them do righteously, love mercy, and walk humbly before God, and there will soon be disturbance and persecution. Our own homes are to be the scenes of our first obedience. What have we done there? And although, apparently, a day intervened between the vision and the work of demolition, yet no time was lost. The first fitting opportunity is sought and utilised, and the interval is occupied with the necessary preparations. So God expects prompt obedience from all his children. The smoke of that new altar - how much it signified I Are we yet his? Let us lose no time in giving our hearts to him. What is our record? Let our deeds speak for us. Time is short. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father's young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:
WEB: It happened the same night, that Yahweh said to him, "Take your father's bull, even the second bull seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is by it;