So, here’s another thought that didn’t make it into this past Sunday’s sermon on the call of Gideon (Judges 6-7). Remember, these are initial reflections and are not fully developed, but I pray that you may find something that sparks your imagination and deeper engagement with the text.
The story of Gideon gives frequent allusions to other characters found in the Hebrew Bible. Some of these are obvious (Moses, Elijah, etc.) but some are not. It is common to find in the Hebrew Bible that when a person had a significant encounter with God, they would set up some kind of monument or altar to remember the experience. Abraham set up more than one altar (Genesis 12:7, 8; 13:18). Isaac set up an altar (Genesis 26:23-25). Jacob set up a pillar (Genesis 28:18-19). These were important places of remembrance, places that they could return to over and over again to remember the Divine Presence and to reaffirm the Divine Call on their lives.
Gideon turns the stone where his offering was burned into an altar for the Lord. The flames that had consumed the bread and the meat had no doubt marked the stone in a real and tangible way. It had been a confirmation for Gideon of God’s Divine Call, so it became an altar – a place he could return to in times of doubt and discouragement; a place where he could remember the time when the call of God was clear and undeniable.
You see, it’s not enough to just tear down pagan altars. We need to build altars to the Lord. We need to stake out those places where we have heard the voice of God clearly and have been changed by God’s call on our lives. I wonder, where are the altars in your life? Where are the holy spaces where you’ve heard God clearest? How have you set up a memorial to remind you of that call and comfort you in times of doubt and struggle?