As you read the Bible, do you ever find yourself wondering what was God thinking?
In this case, I find myself asking God, “Why in the world did you choose that individual? Wasn’t there someone better suited to the task at hand?”
Let me just say this, Gideon is definitely not my favorite person in the Bible, but in some ways I totally relate to him. He is NOT someone I would point to as the model leader and yet God chose him.
Hmmm… maybe the shortcomings and failures of Gideon are ones that are staring back at me in the mirror? I have some of the same fears and insecurities that Gideon experienced.
You know, they always say we don’t like things in other people that we often have in ourselves. Ouch.
Before studying Gideon’s life, I would have said he was a weak leader because of his fear and unbelief. He fleeced God twice, plus he kept asking God for confirmation and assurance every step of the way. I realize as I have read about Gideon, that fear doesn’t make you a weak leader, it’s what you do in spite of the fear that makes you a great leader!
There are some powerful lessons to be learned from the life of Gideon and others in the Bible, if we take time to dig deeper.
Gideon has been on my heart for the past several months. I have already written several posts and even a Vlog, you can find them here:
I was ready to move on, and yet God kept taking me back to Judges 6-8. Apparently I had more to learn and God had more to show me about Gideon. Gideon and I had more in common than I ever thought possible.
Have you ever noticed that God’s ways are not our ways?
Have you ever noticed His math is not like our math?
Have you ever noticed that His plans never really make logical sense?
Finally, have you ever noticed that God’s plans require your total trust and reliance on Him?
Yet, God’s plans are always exactly what is need to bring about victory and success!
Gideon’s story in Judges 7:3-22 is one of the stories that has you answering YES to each of the above questions.
As you read the continuing saga of Gideon, he is putting together an army per the Lord ‘s direction to fight against the Midianites and deliver God’s people from their oppressors.
When the battle call is made, there are 32,000 Israelites that show up prepared to battle. The Midianite army is 135,000 strong. Already God’s math is way different than man’s math. Man’s math says the Israelites are already outnumbers 4 to 1
In Judges 7:2 God says to Gideon:
“You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.”
God didn’t want Gideon or the Isrealites to take credit for the victory He was about to bring. So what does God do?
To prevent the attitude of “I did it on my own” (self-sufficiency), God takes the army from 32,000 to 300!
Ok God, now, I know you really need a math lesson. However God is saying, “No, you need a lesson.”
What lesson is that?
Lesson: Don’t rely on our selves – our strength – our wisdom – our plans – our health – our finances — It’s all God! – rely on Him – His plans – His Strength – His Provision – His Health
When and if we put our trust in God then we can be confident of victory.
How did God pair down the army to only 300 men? He did it in two ways. The first, I can get behind and it makes logical sense. Everyone who is fearful got to return home. A whopping 22, 000 went home, leaving only 10, 000, which was still too many for God.
Logically it makes sense that you do not want fearful people going into battle with you. God didn’t want the fearful ones to poison the minds of the others. He also wanted people who would be fully committed to the task at hand, not thinking on other things.
In fact, there was a Mosaic Law which allowed military exemptions for several classes of people including those who were fearful. (Read Deuteronomy 20:5-8 especially vs8)
The second way God chose who would stay and who would go, makes no sense.
Or does it?
God told Gideon to choose the ones who would stay, by the way they would drink water. (Judges7: 4-8)
Most commentaries don’t have thoughts on why one way is better than the other. My opinion however is this:
When you lap water like a dog, you are not really watching or attentive to what’s going on around you. Your face is in the water, focused on your need and desire to quench your own thirst.
However, if you drink water from your hand by scooping it up and bringing it to your mouth, you are able to pay attention and see your surrounds while you drink. Only 300 men drank this way.
In Judges 7:10-11 we learn that Gideon was afraid. I mean, wouldn’t you be? 300 mean against an army of 135,000? Not very good odds. In fact the odds were 450 Midianites to every 1 Israelite.
God understood and knew Gideon was afraid, but God didn’t let him off the hook. God didn’t let fear be an excuse for Gideon and he didn’t excuse Gideon from his duties either. The same is true for us.
Remember God dismissed 22,000 men from battle because of fear, and yet Gideon was exempt from going home with them. Gideon was left with 300, it seems natural to me that he may have experienced some doubt and fear.
God didn’t want Gideon to lead the army if he wasn’t trusting the Lord, or confident of victory. Instead, God allowed Gideon to gain courage and boldness by hearing a conversation in the enemy’s camp. God wanted Gideon to Trust in Him and believe that He would bring a guaranteed Victory!
God wants the same for you and me.
He does not want us to place our trust in others or even in our own abilities.
He wants us to place our trust and confidence in Him and Him alone!
Dear Jesus, please show me where I am relying on myself or others instead of relying and trusting You. I ask that you would forgive me for the times I haven’t trusted you. I want to trust you more, I ask that you help me during the times when my trust and faith waiver. I choose this day to put my trust and confidence in You, no matter what situations may come. Thank you for your love, care, and guidance.
Next week, I will finish the Gideon series with: Where’s Your Trust? Part 2: Let Your Light Shine
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Love this, Debbie! God’s ways really are higher. I love this story. I grew up listening to Adventures in Odyssey and one if favorites was when they went back in time and found themselves in the Midianite camp. Thanks for sharing wisdom today!!
Thanks Meg – I didn’t listen to the Odyssey tapes very often, but I do remember the one you are talking about! So great to have that memory come rushing back..lol His ways are truly higher than our ways. Blessings
Letting go of the “logical” can be such a challenge sometimes! Just this week I did a little study on Isaiah 55:8-9, where it says his thoughts are not our thoughts and his ways are not our ways. Accepting that and trusting in Him fully is one of the hardest things we ever have to do, and yet it is one of the most rewarding things. He is always faithful!
From your Coffee Shop Conversations neighbor,
Tanya – Yes, He is always faithful, no matter what. Your study on Isaiah 55:8-9 sounds fantastic….I completely agree 0 it is one of the hardest and yet most rewarding things when we trust Him. So glad you were my Coffee Shop neighbor this week.
Thank you for trumpeting the amazing truth of God’s work in and through Gideon. My faint heartedness is helped by this story.
Michele – you are so welcome and I am so glad my story has helped you in some way.
I love this post. I love Gideon. And, most of all, I love God. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. It really is all about God. Blessings upon blessings!
Mari-Anna, Yes, it is ALL About God! Blessings upon Blessings to you as well. thanks for stopping by today.
Debbie, I love the story of Gideon. I can identify with him in many ways. It always amazes me how I can learn something brand new from such familiar and dear to my heart section of scripture. I appreciated your prayer at the end. By the way, I found you on #LMM Forever Joyful.
Beckie from Spotlight, https://wordpress.com/stats/day/beckielindsey16.com
Beckie – it too can identify with him in many ways too – and yes, even though i have heard some of these stories as a child, I am always delighted and amazed how God reveals more and even brand new things. I am so glad you liked and appreciated the prayer – I’m glad you stopped by
“Fear doesn’t make you a weak leader, it’s what you do in spite of the fear that makes you a great leader!” Great encouragement here. I love the story of Gideon- it always reassures me that God can use people who are weak and fearful. I can only imagine how scared and confused he must have been when God kept cutting down his army but it is such an important lesson to learn- to rely on God’s strength not our own. Visiting from Testimony Tuesday.
Thank you Carly! Oh yes, Gideon is definitely proof that God uses people right where they are – weak, fearful, doubting, desperate.. the list goes on, but the imporant thing is to be willing to obey in the face of it all – I am so glad you were able to stop by for visit today.
Debbie, thank you so much for this post! I have been working on trusting Him and letting go. It’s not easy but when I actually do it I have so much more peace in my life.
Leigh – yes, isn’t it funny how we have more peace when we actually let go and trust Him/ I wish I could remember that in the moment I am struggling to trust. I am so grateful for your visit today! May God’s Peace sweep over you like a gentle cooling breeze!
This topic is fresh on my mind since our pastor just preached on it. There is no missing the message in this story, and I wonder if that is simply because God knew we would struggle so in this area. Great reminder to constantly press toward God for all we need. Love seeing your posts each week on Fresh Market Friday because I know I will be challenged to be more intentional in my faith journey:) Hugs, Crystal~
Crystal, yes I do believe God knew we would struggle in this area and many others we read about in the Bible, that is why He gave us such powerful testimonies of how they too overcame! God is so good isn’t He?! I enjoy linking up each week, I will see you in a few days with a new post. 🙂
I love how you shared Gideon’s story. I was always stunned that God brought his army down to only 300! But the God we serve does not do the ordinary, does He? Thanks for linking up with Grace and Truth!
Aimee – you are so right – the God we serve does not to ordinary! thank you for stopping by for a visit
It is amazing having that total reliance on God, and how things may not add up but He makes things happen! Thanks so much for sharing your encouragement with #SocialButterflySunday, Debbie! Hope to see you link up again this week 🙂
Kelly – you are welcome and YES, it is amazing how God works things out when we completely rely and trust in Him
Peter has always been one of my Bible heroes for many of the same reasons Gideon is someone you can relate to. I sometimes remind myself that Peter (and Gideon) messed up, but God still used them in great ways. Thanks for joining us at the #LMMLinkup.
Leslie – I always related to Peter too– he was the impetuous one, but he also had a child like faith to him, that came out when it mattered….. and can see the comparison with Gideon as well. Yes, I would agree as well that they messed up a lot it seemed and God in His mercy still used them in great and powerful ways – just as He does with us, even when we mess up … that is such a great reminder – thank you 🙂
I wish someone would do a television show and each week feature someone from the Bible. To show what their lives were like and how God called them. To see things from their point of view. What they had to overcome to answer God’s calling.
These people are my favorites in the Bible, they are the least, like me.
What an excellent idea! Someone should definitely to a TV Show. I think sometimes we forget about all the people in the Bible that God called when they seemed unqualified or not fit for the task at hand. I always try to put my self in their shoes and try to think and experience what they must have been going through. Blessings
Thank you for sharing your wise thoughts at #Fridayfrivolity!
absolutely, thanks for stopping by