God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. (1 Corinthians 1:27 KJV)
(For the complete story of Gideon, see Judges 6 – 8).
Once again, during the days when the Judges ruled, the people of Israel abandoned God and fell into the hands of their enemies. The cruel Midianites destroyed their crops and reduced the nation to poverty. The people were hungry and afraid and took to hiding in caves and mountains. At last, they cried out to God for help, and a farmer named Gideon was sent to deliver them.
Gideon was threshing grain in a winepress, hiding from the Midianites, when an Angel appeared to him and said, “Go rescue Israel from the Midianites!” Gideon replied, “Me? How can I rescue Israel? My family is poor, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (Judges 6:14-15). The Angel answered, “God will be with you. You will defeat the Midianites!” (Judges 6:16). Gideon was reluctant and felt inadequate for the job. He asked the Angel for a sign to prove it was God speaking to him. Then he prepared an offering for the Angel and placed it on a rock. The Angel touched the offering, and fire flared from the rock and consumed it. Gideon realized it was the Angel of God. But, Gideon needed reassurance of God’s calling, so he requested more signs. He placed a wool fleece on the ground and asked God to cover it with dew while leaving the ground dry. That night God did so. Still unsure, Gideon asked God to make the fleece dry and cover the ground with dew. Again, God did so. So Gideon gathered an army of 32,000 Israelites to fight against Midian’s vast army of 135,000 troops. God said to Gideon, “Your army is too large, and the Israelites will take credit for the victory.” (Judges 7:2). God wanted the glory, so He reduced Gideon’s army to a mere 300 men.
Gideon was obedient to God and followed His unusual battle plan. During the night, his army crept around the enemy camp, each man holding a trumpet and a clay jar with a torch inside. At Gideon’s signal, they blew their trumpets, smashed their clay jars, and shouted, “A sword for God and Gideon!” (Judges 7:20). Grasping their torches, Gideon’s men encircled the enemy camp and watched as the Midianites began shouting and rushing around in a panic. When the 300 trumpets sounded God caused the enemy troops to attack each other with their swords. Those who were not killed took off running for their lives. Gideon sent troops to pursue and crush the army. Midian never recovered, and the land had peace for forty years.
As I look at Gideon’s life, I’m amused at how cautious and slow to believe he was, yet I know all too well I’ve been guilty of the same. Equally amusing is Gideon’s 3 requests for signs which show a less-than-mature faith. As I learn to walk by faith, I am thankful for the patience of God that’s seen in Gideon’s story. Gideon is an example of how God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9). Through his weaknesses, God showed Himself strong and received glory. Gideon became a military strategist, Israel’s 5th Judge, and a member of the Faith Hall of Fame. (Hebrews 11:32).
Father, thank you that despite our inadequacies and less-than-perfect faith, we can fulfill your will, be vessels of your use, and bring glory to our Savior Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name. Amen.