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
My Post: “The Journey through Change” was featured here: