Jerub-baal (10/10/13)

Read: Jeremiah 14:11-16:15, 1Thessalonians 2:9-3:13, Psalm 80:1-19, Proverbs 25:1-5

Your ancestors were unfaithful to me. They worshiped other gods and served them. They abandoned me and did not obey my word. And you are even worse than your ancestors! You stubbornly follow your own evil desires and refuse to listen to me.
(Jeremiah 16:11-12)

Remove the wicked from the king’s court, and his reign will be made secure by justice. (Proverbs 25:5)

Angry Mob

Relate: Gideon had another name. It was Jerub-baal. The name means “Let Baal plead” and he got it because he had the audacity to put actions to his prayers. You see, all of Israel was crying out for deliverance. All of Israel had been oppressed by the Midianites for seven years. They were all hiding in caves and holes in the ground. They were all asking for God’s help.

But an altar to a false god, Baal, was still in a prominent position in the city. There was still an idol standing tall and proud right next to it. Israel wanted help from God, but they didn’t want to change their lifestyle. The first command from God to Gideon was, “tear down your idols.” So in the middle of the night, Gideon did just that. He destroyed the idol, tore down the false altar and built a new one to God. On that he made a sacrifice to the One True God.

The people of the city didn’t like this. When they found out who the culprit was the townspeople were ready to put him to death. I can imagine them arriving as an angry mob with the dawn. Gideon’s father made a very valid defense of his son. He asked them, why are you pleading Baal’s case? If Baal is a true god, he can defend his own altar. The townspeople left but from that day on, Gideon was called “Jerub-baal”. It would be like earning the nickname “Muhammed’s enemy” or “Buddha’s Bane” today.

React: It is easy to look back with what CS Lewis called “cultural snobbery” on the idol worship of that day. What fools they must have been worshiping statues of wood and stone. How primitive. But I, but we, do much worse. Like Jeremiah says, we do even worse. Each of us simply follows our own desires and refuse to listen to God. When tough times come we want deliverance. We want freedom from the pain, but we are unwilling to pay the price. It is time to smash those idols. If needs be, put a hammer through that TV screen. Cancel that cable or internet. Cut up those credit cards. Before Gideon was used by God to bring physical liberty, he was used to bring spiritual freedom. It was a big risk… but it was worth it. It still is today.

Respond: 

God, what are the idols in my heart? These days, it isn’t always so easy to know. What are those things that distract me from following wholeheartedly after You? What are the things that I can’t or won’t let go of that are keeping me from knowing full freedom? I give everything to You, God. My money. My job. My relationships. My ambitions. My habits. My thoughts. Take it all, God. Search out every corner, nook, and cranny in my heart and bring to light whatever would come between me and You. I yield it all to You.

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20 thoughts on “Jerub-baal (10/10/13)

  1. The Lord gave Gideon a powerful victory, but not until after he had first gotten rid of the idol, the symbol of divided loyalty. I ask myself frequently: am I willing to lay down my small everyday comfy distractions in order to submit to God’s call for the hour or day or season?

  2. You nailed it when you said we want deliverance but we don’t want to give up our idol worshiping lifestyles. Yet it is our very lifestyles that are causing the problems! We are like drunks who want God to deliver us from the hangovers, shames, poverties and humiliations of our habit, but please, please, please, don’t take away the habit! Take everything else, but not the habit.

    If I might add however, asking God to search your heart is not enough. You have to be willing to search it with Him and must be willing to respond to what it is that He shows you. He’s not just going to tap you on the shoulder and tell you that you might want to take a look at this. He also requires your vested interest in His help. The problem is, we don’t know what to look for.

    If anyone is interested, I would recommend reading the biography of Rees Howells, Intercessor by Norman Glubb. In it he relates how God used His Word to purify and cleanse him into the man that he was before God. He helped ignite a revival in South Africa as well as running several Bible Schools. He and his intercessors also helped pray Britain through WW2, portions of which he relates in his biography.

  3. Reblogged this on SWORD OF TRUTH and commented:
    Thanks River Walk all your messages are inspiring and re-blogging this one cause it really hits home in our culture today. Of course this is also what Yahshua said in Matthew where nation against nation, brother against brother, etc. I even noticed it in the different churches as I was growing up. The reason why I never went in most part cause they were always at each others throats. To me that is not the kind of church I would want to belong too.
    It makes more sense why people are leaving and you cannot attribute it to the great falling away. Worshiping idols can be about anything that you put first before God. Our MOST HIGH Father should always be FIRST in everything that we say and do, in our lives. Doctrines of men, twisted to engage the masses into believing what they say and have become like Pharisees and Sadducee’s today.
    Mark 7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
    Leviticus 19:4 Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God.
    1Chronicles 16:26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
    Psalms 106:36 And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.
    Come out of the world!

    • Not most. Many different cities and cultures had a “baal” among their pantheon of gods, but it was not a generic name to be used for any god. It is very clear in the Gideon account that the usage here was for a very specific false god set up in opposition to YHWH.

      • Hmmm maybe. It just means Lord and if it is used as a prefix for a city etc – it means Lord of that City. So maybe Ba’al Hadad. But many OT references to baal should probably be more accurately designated to Dagon or Melqart and there are plenty of names amongst worshippers of YHWH with the baal element in them.

        • Me thinks you read too much wikipedia. Baal does not mean lord in any sense we would use it today. Sometimes people would give special honor to say something along the lines of “you are like god to me”. It would appear in writing as a title. Two biblical examples of this: Joseph says this on seeing his father and God himself says He will make Moses appear as a god to Pharaoh.
          Baal was always one specific name for one specific god within a local theophany. Once travel and communication grew between those local cultures they began marking them off as the baal of this or that city but once again, it did not by any means mean “Lord” of this city or that. The cities, in a sense, became a surname distinguishing one baal from another.

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