“Now it came to pass the same night that the LORD said to him, ‘Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down’” (Judges 6:25-26)
I would like to take a little time to share a few insights and thoughts I have on this verse.
Why did God take the second bull that was seven years old and use it as the sacrifice and not the first bull?
It may have been to make a point that the future lively hood of Gideon and his family did not lie in the hands of the false god Baal but in the hands of the Almighty God Jehovah. Bulls were essential to the future of the herd. They symbolized strength and vitality. A seven year old bull was considered mature and was ready to breed. By Father God requiring Gideon to sacrifice the second bull He was declaring that not longer was the future of Gideon in the hands of this false God and the oppressing army but was in the hands of the Almighty. Interestingly the number seven in the bible usually indicates completion. It could be that by using a seven year old bull also meant that that season of their lives was over never to happen again.
Baal was considered to be the God of fertility and was considered to be the most important of the Canaanite gods. Therefore the sacrificing of the second bull, which was considered to be the next generation of wealth creation and family security, takes on a whole new meaning.
Father God was saying that the future of the family lay in His hands and not baal. I believe when the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and spoke the secrets hidden in his heart, you could even say his destiny, was brought to the surface.
Do you notice that Gideon did not dispute being called a mighty warrior, could it be that deep down he knew it. Rather he inquired after the fact that if he had the Lords favor why was he in the circumstances he was in. Incidentally one of the meanings of the name Ophrah is Place of Dust, this is where the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon. So to step back we could say that the Lord met Gideon in the place of dust, restored his identity and commissioned him to go out in the strength he had.
“But I will be with you,” the LORD said to him. “You will strike Midian down [as if it were] one man.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
We know from the rest of the story that the Lord God Jehovah delivered the enemy over Gideons army. Gideon pursued his enemies and drove them from the land. From that point on oppression was driven from their land and peace and prosperity returned. When God was placed in his rightful position in the Land it was then that peace and prosperity was returned. Unfortunately after Gideon’s death the people returned to worship false gods and as such the oppression and bloodshed returned.
It is imperative we destroy the strongholds of the enemy in our lives. These strongholds are mindsets, ways of thinking that go against God and his word. They directly contradict what and who Father God has called us to be and do.
What altars do we need to tear down in our lives that contradict who we are called to be?
Do we need to tear down some altars and like Gideon build an altar to the LORD your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement. I think in proper arrangement simply means that we set things properly in order.