The Altar of Baal Destroyed
28 When the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was torn down, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar which had been built. 29 They said to one another, “Who did this thing?” And when they searched about and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash did this thing.” 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal, or will you deliver him? Whoever will [t]plead for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has torn down his altar.” 32 Therefore on that day he named him Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he had torn down his altar.
33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves; and they crossed over and camped in the valley of Jezreel. 34 So the Spirit of the Lord [u]came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him. 35 He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.
It’s difficult to say if Joash (Gideon’s father) was thoroughly convinced that his son wasn’t crazy for tearing down the altar and the Asherah. But he loved his son, and wasn’t about to let the mob get to him.
In any case, he puts Baal to the test, and says, if Baal really is a god, he can take care of this matter himself. Obviously, Baal is a no show, and their family seemed to gain a bit of notoriety from the ordeal. When Gideon blows the trumpet, men flock to him.
Gideon, with all his timidity, gained respect from his family and countrymen by following God, even if it scared him to death. When we follow God, we can trust in Him, no matter what happens. As Esther said, “If I perish, I perish…” Even in the “worst”, to die is gain, and being re-united with our Creator is the ultimate prize for putting our faith in Him.