March 06, 2008

Breadcrumb: What kind of a god are you?

As part of Gideon's initial selection process, God has him destroy his father's altar to Baal. Gideon does this by night, but his neighbours still realize it was him. They come after him with proverbial pitchforks, intending to kill him. Ironically, it is Gideon's father who rescues his son, by saying that Baal is a god and can fend for himself. (Judg. 6:25-32) Of course, Gideon survives and Baal's power against him is suspect, but this episode highlights the ancient world's belief in the practical power of their gods. The closest we get to that sentiment today is people telling their gods -- jokingly, we assume -- to strike them with lightening if they're lying.

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