Thursday, December 17, 2015
Fear Not [no.25] *facepalm*
Good heavens. The story surrounding this quote is nothing short of facepalm material.
So, God says this to Gideon... and Gideon promptly builds an altar at the spot and names it The Lord is Peace. I'd find that refreshing for the OT, if the entire interaction between God and Gideon wasn't about fighting the Midionites. Gideon can't figure out why God would even choose his clan to prevail in this fight, as they have behaved so wickedly... and then Gideon proceeds to ask God for proof after proof, setting up tests for God to pass--and God follows the tests! I guess God asks Gideon to jump through a few hoops, too, involving a sacrificed goat and pulling down the statue of Baal (which he does in the dark of night, so no one will see him, because he's scared). After Gideon goes on a killing tear across the country and frees Israel from Midion, the Israelites beg him to be their ruler, but he refuses, saying the Lord is to be their ruler. (Ah! Could they have learned something?) He then proceeds to ask the Israelites for a boon, gold earrings, which he casts into a false idol, and as soon as Gideon dies, they all go back to worshiping Baal.
I guess God gets to patiently try to teach his chosen people the same lesson, yet again: love of family, love of one God...
But the story digresses into brother killing brothers, God avenging them, the burning alive of a thousand people trapped in a temple tower, and a millstone being dropped on Abimelek's head by a woman and cracking his skull (which was such an embarrassment to him he asked his servant to run him through with a sword so others couldn't say he'd been killed by a woman). Next, the man who promises God, if God will just make him victorious in battle, he'll sacrifice whatever first exits his home when he returns-- and of course, it is his only child, a daughter, who graciously accepts this fate as he must uphold his vow to God.
Lord have mercy on us. Be patient with us when we are slow, so slow, to learn your ways. Help us not to be afraid.