Sometimes we can read about great men and women of God and feel completely detached from them. They appear otherworldly in their character and accomplishments. Not so with Gideon (Perhaps unfortunately for him!). We can find in Gideon much to relate to. He’s an ordinary person, who experiences fears, uncertainty, doubts, and a desperation to have absolute confirmation before taking big risks and that’s despite God telling him the great outcome. Nevertheless, God uses Gideon to achieve a sensational victory that raises up a hopeless nation.
Love > Fear
We learn through Gideon that God’s love is the antidote to fear. Gideon was called by God to save Israel from the oppressive Midianites. God’s love was shown to Gideon through the promise of God’s presence with him in the battle (v7), the promise that Gideon would save Israel from the Midianites (Judges 6:14, Judges 7:14), and confirmations (Judges 6:36-40) of this as requested by Gideon. This changed Gideon. He went from worry mode to warrior mode! He gathers the men of Israel to fight the Midianites (Judges 7:1). Are there things you worry about or fear? Know that we have been given one greater than an angel to encourage us – Jesus – who has spoken of God’s presence for us, and victory over sin and death should we trust in him.
In light of God’s love, the darkness of fear has no other option other than to retreat. John writes “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). We can find courage coming and fear fleeing as we believe God’s love for us. Gideon was on a journey of experiencing this. At times our fears are exposed when breaking into new ground. For Gideon, this new ground was the prospect of fighting a colossal enemy (the combined might of the Midianites, Amalekites and all the people of the East) with a pruned military might of just 300 men. God recognised this fear in Gideon and in his steadfast love offered Gideon further confirmation of victory to strengthen him (v10-15). When God sets up new challenges in your life he’s setting you up with the opportunity to enjoy greater heights of confidence in him as well as breakthrough. No wonder Scripture describes God as love (1 John 4:8). Today be encouraged that God’s love is not void in your challenges, trials and struggles, but is there for you to experience and be empowered by to impact situations for his glory.
God’s Praise and Glory Not Our’s
Gideon thought like an ordinary man when considering tactics for the fight. His reasoning went like this – “As many men as possible = victory”. Many, if not all of us, would have been convinced of the same if in Gideon’s shoes. However, God’s wisdom meant cutting 32,000 men down to 300. And this was against an army described “as the sand that is on the seashore in abundance” (v12). God’s plans defy human logic here as it did at Jericho. We can sometimes be caged into our own human wisdom for success rather than trusting in the might of God’s wisdom and power to bring about breakthrough in our lives. Gideon trusted God and followed his instructions which led to victory over Israel’s enemies. And as God points out, the mission impossible number of 300 men, as opposed to the original 32,000, was to work far better at convincing Israel that their victory could only be credited to God, who alone deserved the praise and glory.
The challenges you face today may pose incredible odds against you. Yet be encouraged to trust that those odds are favourable in the hands of God who works miracles over impossible odds for his glory. Be expectant of his outworking in your circumstances and likewise be quick to give him the praise and glory he deserves.
Father, you deserve all praise and glory. Please enlarge my faith today, that I would seek and depend on you, joyfully follow you and please you through my thoughts, words and actions. Amen.