Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Is Your God Able to Fight His Own Battles?

Gideon is a great person in the history presented in the Bible.  He was from a family that was the weakest in Manasseh, and he was the least in his family.  However, the angel of the Lord called him "mighty man of valor".  Gideon was instructed to pull down the idols made to the false gods in his area.  He followed the command at night.  

When the followers of the false gods saw what had been done, they were irate.  They demanded Gideon be executed for what they saw as his crime.  Here is that exchange as recorded in Judges 6:
When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29 And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” 30 Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” 32 Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar. (Judges 6.28-32 ESV)
This is a great passage of Scripture.  It is a challenge only the One true God would be able to satisfy, because only He is real.  All other gods are false.

Sometimes I feel like going into battle for God when someone disrespects Him.  When someone opposes God it seems like we should fight for Him.  Let's have a crusade!  Not like Billy Graham, but like the crusaders of old!  Conquer and pillage, rape and murder.  Make them pay for dishonoring our God!  However, that is not what we are called to do.  What I described is Islam, not Biblical Christianity.  When popes ordered people to be killed they showed the evil of their hearts and the lack of true spiritual authority in their office.

If you think about it, the Gospel is most effective in places where there is persecution.  The saying goes, "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church."  The Gospel prospers not when we conquer, but when we allow God to conquer us and surrender our will to His.  When we do that we can realize that we do not need to fight His battles for Him, we just need to do His will.  The followers of Baal and Asherah (as well as those who follow allah and the papacy) have to fight on their gods' behalf.  That is because their gods are powerless.  The God of the Bible is all-powerful.  He does not need our defense.  If we stand bold, it is not to protect God, but to honor Him and to be a witness of His greatness.  

Surely, our God is able to fight His own battles; we, Christians, are the only ones who can truthfully say that.

Pete Garbacki is a minister with Time for Truth Ministries and Mission.Brasil.  Follow him on Twitter @mission_brasil or FaceBook at

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