Sunday, February 08, 2009

Gideon was a lumberjack (and he's ok)

Ok, no, he wasn’t Canadian and he didn’t work in the forest. But his name basically means “cutter” or “chopper.” So, if you have a baby and want him to be a lumberjack, Gideon is a good name...

Despite the fact that Gideon was not a real live lumberjack, his name is fitting for the first task God called him to. In Judges 6 the angel of the Lord greets a cowering Gideon with “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor” (6.12). At the time, Gideon is hiding his grain from the Midianites who have been oppressing Israel (hence the irony of the Lord calling him valorous).

After a brief argument in which the Lord tells Gideon to save Israel with Gideon replying he can’t, the Lord tells Gideon to take bulls and pull down the altar to Baal and to cut down the Asherah pole. These are both pagan objects of worship that shouldn’t be in God’s land. God is calling Gideon to do what he is made for, to “cut down” the pagan things that tempt Israel away from their God.

Gideon does it. At night. When no one is watching. And he takes 10 guys with him. He knows the town will be mad at him and even kill him for doing what God calls him to. Gideon is alright with doing the Lord’s will... as long as he has a posse to keep him safe. This is an important thing to understand for the next chapter when God hand picks Gideon’s “army.”

Gideon is a lumberjack. And he’s ok, just as long as he’s safely surrounded by real “mighty men.”

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