The Lord said to him, “… tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it.” Judges 6:25.
The deliverer of Israel must declare war upon idolatry before he went to battle with the enemies of his people. He must esteem the honor of God above the credit of his father and regard the divine commands as more obligatory than parental authority.
The offering of sacrifice unto the Lord had been committed to the priests and Levites and had been restricted to the altar at Shiloh, but He who had established the Jewish economy, and to whom all its services pointed, had power to change its requirements. In this instance He saw fit to depart from the ritual appointment. It was of great importance that the deliverance of Israel should be preceded by a solemn protest against the worship of Baal and an acknowledgment of Jehovah as the only true and living God.
When the men of the city, early in the morning, came to pay their devotions to Baal, they were greatly surprised and enraged at what had taken place. Soon it was known that Gideon had done this, and then nothing but his blood could satisfy those deluded idolaters….
Gideon had told his father, Joash, of the Angel’s visit and the promise that Israel should be delivered. He also related to him the divine command to destroy the altar of Baal. The Spirit of God moved upon the heart of Joash. He saw that the gods whom he had worshipped had no power even to save themselves from utter destruction, and hence they could not protect their worshippers. When the idolatrous multitude clamored for the death of Gideon, Joash fearlessly stood in his defense and endeavored to show the people how powerless and unworthy of trust or adoration were their gods: “Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.” …
All thoughts of violence were dismissed, and when, moved by the Spirit of the Lord, Gideon sounded the trumpet of war, they were among the first to gather to him. He then sent messengers throughout his own tribe of Manasseh, and also to Asher, Zebulon, and Naphtali, and all cheerfully obeyed the call….
Evil may seem for a time to prevail, but in the end righteousness will gain the victory.—Signs of the Times, June 23, 1881.