Faith or fearful? Judges 6-8
Gideon is our fifth judge; some know him as Jerubbaal. He begins his campaign after God reminded the people of their disobedience. They fell back into their old habits and now was reaping the consequences of their actions. Midian harshly over powers them and leaves them nothing for gain. Seven years Israel is tortured and impoverished by their enemies with no relief in sight. The author mentions this confrontation by God to offer grace he freely offers. Israel didn’t accept the grace nor fall on their faces in repentance.
Therefore an Angel comes and calls Gideon out of hiding to save Israel. Gideon thinks of all the reasons why he was not the right candidate and seems to distrust God’s word. At the end of their discussion Gideon asks for a sign that what God has proclaiming would in fact come true. Gideon prepares a sacrifice for God and God delivers the sign faithfully. Now Gideon must have had the right idea of God because God has to soothe his fear of death after their interaction. This sounds much like another story in scripture, doesn’t it?
The first task assigned to Gideon was to tear down the false god being worshiped in the land. Gideon fears the people and so completes the assignment over night. The men of the city confront the family and Gideon’s Dad stands up for him. At this time Gideon is given a nickname meaning “Let Baal plead against him.” This nickname reminds me of the bravery in tearing down the idol and invoking the wrath of that idol. Do you think this nickname is fitting to Gideon’s character?
We see an act of bravery from Gideon in 6:33. Gideon calls all the men to action and to fight with him against Midian. Now is this an act of bravery from Gideon or on his behalf by God? Verse 34 details the Spirit of God dwelling Gideon and causing his act of faith. But no sooner in verse 37 Gideon again tests God’s word whether it is true or not. So is Gideon a man of faith or a man of fear?
We move to the part of Gideon’s story that we are all to familiar with. God dwindles Gideon’s army down to just 300 men. Why do you think God did this? How would you respond if God took most of your resources away during a very difficult time in your life? Would you allow fear to consume you, pull your boot traps up, or pray for wisdom? Let’s see what Gideon does.
God calls Gideon to action that same night to fight his enemy. God also puts a clause in his statement, “But if you are afraid …..” Do you think God already knew of Gideon’s anxiety? In knowing this God setup Gideon’s personal motivational speech! Gideon worships God and sets out on his mission. He devises a plan and sets it in motion to the fall of the Midianite army. God’s grace weaves throughout scripture!
Following the battle Gideon tracks down the two kings of Midian and eventually kills them himself. Before the conclusion of his battle he promises physical torture to two cities who fail to give them food and water during their pursuit. upon the death of the Kings, Gideon reveals his vengeance against them and attempts to get his young son to kill them. When his son refuses Gideon slays them. After his Judgment ends he returns home to acquire many wives, sons, and concubines. His house has no respect from the people and Gideon is placed in a tomb with the other past judges.
I’ll let you decide if Gideon demonstrated true and lasting faith. I’ll let you prayerfully pray through this account and glean valuable life lessons! You see even stories we grew up with, that were painted as a grand example, can be sorely skewed to fit our own framework. God is calling us to true and lasting faith! Moments of bravery could simply be the grace of God’s Spirit acting through you …. you decide!
With Great Love & Truth,