Introduction to a the Idea of a Stronghold

That night the Lord said to him, “Take a bull from your father’s herd and a second bull seven years old. Tear down your father’s Baal altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this stronghold in an orderly way. Take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah pole that you will cut down.”

Judges 6:25–26 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

It’s important to know that the God we serve is the Most High God. There are no other gods who can equal Him let alone exceed Him.

When God described the Baal altar and the Asherah pole, he used the word stronghold. That is not because the god(s) worshipped there had any real powers to do anything… The stronghold was in the minds of those who worshipped the god(s) using that place.

God does not need the blood of bulls to triumph over the stronghold. He is going to use it as a manifold typing.

For some background, in the ancient pagan ways, Baal was sometimes worshipped as the king of gods. In this instance, he would hold the title of “El.” To the Canaanites, El was not the God of Israel, yet was considered most high. Asherah is the consort of El. Baal is revered as the universal fertility god and is known as a storm god that brings rain. (Think brings fertility to the fields.) Other things to know… Baal is sometimes symbolized by a bull as he allegedly sired a bull. The Asherah pole is a large carved wooden pole that is worshipped as the goddess. She too would be a goddess of fertility, while also being the goddess of sexual lust. The Asherah pole would lend itself to a phallic representation. Sex would be a part of the worship at this place.

With the ideas represented here, the word stronghold is applicable. And this is the first usage of the word in the Bible.

Also, necessary to understand is that Baal would fight Mot. Mot is the God of death. If Baal were victorious a seven-year cycle of fertility would ensue giving good crops and increased livestock.

Maybe you start to see all the symbology here, and how God was going to show Himself victorious over this usurper who is called the king of gods. The fertility symbols would be dashed, an altar built to the Most High, and a bull of seven years-of-age sacrificed on it over the wood of that god’s emblem of vitality and fertility. Anything that god could do was dashed to nothing.

So Gideon took ten men from among his slaves and did as the Lord had told him, but because he was too afraid of the rest of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it at night.

Judges 6:27 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

It was no simple thing Gideon was asked to do. There was real danger here.

When the men of the city got up early in the morning, the altar of Baal was torn down, the Asherah pole beside it was cut down, and the second bull had been offered on the new altar that had been built.

Judges 6:28–30 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

They said to each other, “Who has done this?”

When they had inquired and asked, they responded, “Gideon son of Joash has done this.”

Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son so that he may die, for he tore down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”

You see how the altar and pole were a stronghold not just for Gideon’s father, but the rest of the city as well. Even though these things were labeled as Gideon’s father’s. The stronghold held sway in the hearts of all in the city. It served as a refuge for them… Just as the Hebrew word conveys.

Joash then said to all who stood against him, “Would you plead for Baal? Would you save him? Whoever fights for him will be killed by morning. If Baal is a god, let him fight for himself, for someone has torn down his altar.” Therefore on that day he called him Jerub-Baal, saying, “Let Baal fight him, for he tore down the altar of Baal.”

Judges 6:31–32 — Modern English Version (Thinline Edition.; Lake Mary, FL: Passio, 2014)

God knew exactly how to break that stronghold by using the very things those people revered to destroy what they worshipped.

It is a good thing to know that when we teach about the meanings of certain symbols or even pagan rituals, is that God triumphs over them all. Just like the symbols of these gods were put under the blood of their god so to say, by the work of our God. It is a picture of the strongholds in our lives; how they are put under the blood of our God by our God. They are gone. They really have no power over a believer.

Christian, there is nothing the enemy has you over on, save whatever you give to him. Sometimes we must smash those strongholds in our lives and others, so we and they can clearly see the truth, just a Joash saw.

It is not work that is easy to do, and not without real risk. But the benefits give glory to God as people are woke from their enthrallment to such vanities.

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