This morning in my quiet time I was reading from Judges 6-7 which tells the story of Gideon and how God used him and 300 men to bring relief to Israel from the Midianites. Now I have heard this story many a time in my Sunday school days. But there were a couple of things that were always in the story:
- When Gideon asked God for signs with the fleece (Judges 6:36-40),
- How God chose Gideon’s 300 men (Judges 7:1-7), and
- How these few men were able to chase thousands of Midianites out of their territory (Judges 7:19-25)
Today however, was a bit different. For the first time it really struck me that Gideon was in fact a coward and a man that was really unsure of himself. The author of the book introduces us to Gideon when he is busy beating out wheat in a winepress, not because this is the way it was normally done, but rather that he is hiding from the Midianites (Judges 6:11). Later in the narrative the point is made that Gideon went to destroy the altar of Baal at night because he was afraid of his own people (Judges 6:27). Time and time again Gideon tests God with requests for signs before he pushes forward, but still God complies and never seem to get angry at him.
Why then did God even bother with Gideon?
I think, on reflection, the answer is twofold.
- Even though Gideon may have been a “wimp” in our terms of today, he was obedient and he submitted himself to God’s plans. His obedience and faith in the Lord allowed the Holy Spirit to make him a warrior. Proof of this is read in Judges 6:34 which tells us that the Holy Spirit was with Gideon. This gave him the courage to call upon the same people that wanted to kill him because he destroyed their Baal altar. The result: 32 000 men followed him when he sounded that trumpet.
- Which brings me to my second point. Don’t think for one second they followed Gideon, because quite frankly he did not deserve it. They were following the LORD! God bothered with Gideon, because through Gideon’s weaknesses God could show His power and His authority over the situation.
What is my Lessons from this today?
- God doesn’t need the brave and strong to do His work. He uses all of us, even the weak and the unsure, as long as we are prepared to obey and follow Him, no matter what He asks from us.
- God walked with Gideon every step of the way and He revealed Himself to Gideon, no matter how many times Gideon asked. The Lord did this to give him guidance and strength. If God does this for Gideon, I have the assurance that He does it also for me.
- Big, showy actions do not necessarily show God’s glory. It is the small things we do that God can work with to show His glory to us all and to reveal Himself to us.
- And finally, with the Holy Spirit in my life, I have the ability to also become a warrior for God. To be strong and courageous even though I may feel that I don’t have much to contribute or that I am so scared that I would rather just want to stick my head in a hole like an ostrich (If I don’t see them they won’t see me).