January 11 - Gideon

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January 11 - Gideon

“Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites” (Judges 6:1).

I believe that one of the things scripture points out to us is the extreme lengths God will go to in order to have a relationship with us.  Once again, the Israelites began worshiping other gods and once again they angered God so much that he turned them over to the Midianites, who crossed the Jordan each year for seven years simply to plunder and desolate the land.

God called on Gideon to finally deliver the land from these invaders when yet again, the Israelites called out to Him for help.

Getting Gideon to undertake the task was not easy for the Lord.  Gideon wasn’t ready to just acquiesce.  He had questions.  Tough questions.

“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about? … But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of the Midian.” (Judges 6:13)

Much like His conversation with Moses, when He asked Moses to deliver the Israelites from Egypt, the Lord didn’t respond to the questions, but promised He would have strength to save Israel.  Gideon reminded Him that his clan was the weakest and he himself was the least in his family.  The Lord told Gideon he would be with him.

Gideon then asked one more favor of the Lord, to please remain until he could return with an offering.  I love these next words from God: “I will wait until you return.” (Judges 6:18b).

God will wait for us when what we want to do is worship Him.

Gideon began tearing down altars to Baal and Asherah poles. The Midianites joined together with the Amalekites and others to battle Gideon, who then called out to the tribes of Israel to join him in battle.

At this point, Gideon set one more test before the Lord.  He put out a dry wool fleece.  If there was dew on it – he knew the Lord would be with him.  There was.  That wasn’t enough. He asked for one more thing.  He put another fleece out – asking that the fleece be dry and the ground surrounding it wet with dew.  It was.  Gideon’s confidence was full.

The next part of the story tested Gideon’s faith.  He had 32,000 men ready to do battle and the Lord told him to send away those who were fearful so that Israel wouldn’t boast in their own strength.  22,000 men left.  The Lord then asked Gideon to take the remainder to the water.  Those who lapped at the water with their hands were separated from those who knelt to drink.  This left 300 men.

With these 300 men, God conquered the Midianites.

The Lord listened to the fear of a man who was willing to walk with Him.  He offered strength to a man who felt unworthy and gave confidence to a man who was ready to be the Lord’s mighty warrior.