Gideon was an iconoclast commissioned by God. And fulfiling that commission must have been a painful experience - because his father was a worshiper of Baal. Gideon's pain would come from two sources: fear of his father's anger, love for his father who would not only be angry but hurt that his own son had destroyed the idols. There was also the love and fear of God, whose command he had heard. Love would motivate him to obey the Lord, and fear of the Lord would cause him to resist the cauldron of emotions that stood in the way of that obedience.
Why does Elijah battle the "prophets of Baal"? Because Baal never puts in an appearance.
I believe God's merciful love is revealed in response to a cry from the hear, not just any cry, but a humble cry for deliverance. The Bible has much to say about this cry. "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God; he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears" (Psalm 18:6).
The false god Baal is mentioned in the Bible with a variety of names.
Chief among the names appears to be Baalzebub or Beelzebub (in the New Testament). He is the prince of demons.
When God selected Gideon to be the liberator and judge of Israel, He first told him to destroy the altar of Baal where his own family used to worship.
Gideon feared to do it, but obeyed, though he did it by night.
The word Baal simply means husband, or lord.
As the name of a false god, Baal symbolizes False Authority (False Church and False Government)
Thus, though this is not always recognized, Baal is the spiritual force behind False Churches, most of which look like genuine churches!
(This has to be so, or no one would be deceived. As it is, Baal has contrived it so as to deceive if possible even the elect.)