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.
Judges 6:25 And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:
26 And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.
27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father’s household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
28 And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.
29 And they said one to another, Who hath done this thing? And when they enquired and asked, they said, Gideon the son of Joash hath done this thing.
30 Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.
31 And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar.
32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, Let Baal plead against him, because he hath thrown down his altar.
This was the beginning of fearful Gideon’s obedience to God.
The act of throwing down the altar of Baal and cutting down the grove by the altar, opened the eyes of Gideon’s father to the fact that the idol of Baal was powerless to punish. So he refused to punish his son, and challenged the Baal worshipers when they wanted to kill Gideon. He said, in effect, “put Baal to the test. Let him do the punishing, if he really is a god.”
Obedience was a condition, and the price, of freeing Israel from oppression.
Israel had been oppressed by the Midianites who were worshipers of Baal. If Gideon was to be the deliverer of Israel, he had first to tear down the altar of Baal in his own family. And cut down the groves where Ashteroth was worshiped. Only then could he win the battle against the worshipers of Baal and Ashteroth.