Judges 6:11–16; 7:9–11, 13–15comment (0)
July 19, 2012
By Douglas K. Wilson
Related Scripture: Judges 6:11–16; 7:9–11, 13–15
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Dean and Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
Judges 6:11–16; 7:9–11, 13–15
Gideon was a judge with a mission from God, but his simple life as a dutiful son gave no indication of the greatness he would achieve or the notoriety he would gain. From his humble beginnings, Gideon had little expectation to do anything or to be anyone significant.
Too often, Christians are quick to judge Gideon as a man with limited faith. They look at him as someone who tried to weasel out of obeying God. In fact, he was a man of faith (Heb. 11:32) who sought to confirm God’s will. Gideon wanted to make sure that he was discerning God’s direction, as he lives in the midst of spiritual syncretism.
What is God’s will? If we ask that question, then we risk being held accountable. Instead we tell God our plans, and then we ask Him to bless us. Choosing to pursue a self-centered life is a far greater risk than discovering and accomplishing the expressed will of God. Accepting responsibilities ordained by God and serving faithfully accomplishes God’s purposes.
Shift Your Focus (6:11–16)
A self-preserving mentality leads to a limited perspective. Since the Midianites were oppressing Israel, Gideon was threshing his wheat in a winepress, a small, enclosed area where he could hide if need be. The angel of God appeared to Gideon calling him a mighty man, and Gideon’s response was to ask why God was not caring for His people. When the angel explained Gideon’s role, this soon-to-be deliverer showed great humility (or fear, see 6:27), realizing that he had little to offer God or His people.
Followers of Christ are often reluctant to take on new assignments from God. If we fear embarrassment, rejection or suffering will be the result of fulfilling the task, we would rather not do it. Rather than focusing on the greatness of God, we see our own limited potential, our weakness and our lack of experience.
After demonstration of God’s power, Gideon accomplished his first task, the destruction of his clan’s Baal and Asherah idols. His father called him Jerubbaal (“let Baal contend”) after this event, arguing that if Baal is real, then he can cast judgment on Gideon. He was on his way to become the mighty man of valor.
Accept God’s Encouragement (7:9–11)
Encouragement from God leads to courage in the face of personal fear. Gideon prepares to attack the Midianites in obedience to God’s commission, and his actions demonstrate fear. God told him that if he was afraid, he should first go with his servant to scout the Midianite camp. In the midst of his fear, Gideon took his servant Purah to the camp outposts and listened to Midianite conversations amongst their soldiers.
Acting in the face of fear seems counterintuitive. We may be convinced that something is missing — that we are unprepared for the challenges before us. As we step out in obedience, we see that God is well aware of our circumstances, including our fear. In fact, He knows more about our situations than we do.
Acknowledge God’s Grace (7:13–15)
Gideon was motivated to act as a result of God’s grace. This man sought affirmation of God’s direction with every new instruction, and God graciously confirmed His will. Midianite soldiers were discussing a dream, when one of the men discerned that its meaning was Israel’s victory and the defeat of his own military. Hearing this explanation from the mouth of the enemy was ample motivation for Gideon to mobilize the army.
God’s grace is sufficient for our needs. As Christians we seek to know and do the will of God (Rom. 12:2). We feel at times that our struggles are more than we can bear, yet we are reminded that Christ is our sufficiency. Let us take to heart the words Jesus spoke to the apostle Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).