The story of Gideon can be found in Judges chapters 6 – 8.
Israel had found themselves in trouble again. They had turned their back on God and served idols. In turn they were under severe persecution from the Midianites and had just been plundered by them and had no harvest left on which to survive. They cried out to God in desperation. God sent an angel to call out a Mighty Warrior. A Reluctant Warrior.
Gideon was hiding in the winepress, threshing wheat. The angel of the Lord met him there and said,
“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Gideon’s reply? If God was with them, why all of this trouble? Where is the power and miracles that their fathers had described? Beside that, Gideon’s clan was the weakest and he, the weakest of his clan! The angel confirmed God’s will for Gideon. Gideon then gave an offering which the angel caused to be consumed by fire from the stone it was set on. Gideon proceeded to tear down the altar to Baal and sacrifice to God in the spot where it was. He summoned the people together to prepare for war. But not before requesting 2 signs, via fleece, from God that He would be with him. God confirmed Gideon again and then whittled Gideon’s army of 32,000 men down to 300.
These 300 men then went against the Midianites and defeated them. God gave Gideon, the least of the men from the least of the clans, victory over the enemy. He chose Gideon, not because of his abilities but because of his obedience.
After the victory, the people wanted Gideon to be their king but Gideon refused, asking only for a golden earring from each of the people, from which he made a golden ephod, which consequently became a stumbling block for Gideon’s family and the people because it became an idol.
Gideon and the people enjoyed peace for the rest of his years but after his death, the people return to their worship of Baal, turning their back on God once again.
What can we learn from this reluctant but mighty warrior?
1. Gideon was not the most powerful, strongest, or smartest. Do not look at your own abilities. It’s about God, not about us.
2. Gideon was prone to asking for a sign for confirmation. Strive to recognize God’s voice and know His Word so that we can move in obedience instead of always seeking a sign. see Mark 8:12
3. Gideon was persistent. He was not satisfied with the victory on the battlefield, he pursued the enemy until total victory was gained. Do we only look for ‘touches’ from God every so often or do we actively pursue Him daily? Also, do we combat enemy through fasting and prayer so that we are able to see victory in our family, in our finances, and in the lives of others? Do we cower in the corner hoping the devil will not notice us?
4. Gideon was seemingly not interested in recognition or power since he did not want to rule them as king. Do we do the things we do, even the good things, for the glory of God or for our personal recognition? We can do good works but if they are done with wrong motives, they are pointless. see Matt 6:2
5. Gideon built an ephod as a memorial to the victory. Similar to the serpent Moses made in the wilderness, the people started to worship the symbol of the victory instead of the Giver of the victory. We must be careful not to become consumed with pride or self over the victories God allows us. That will be a stumbling block to ourselves and maybe even to those around us.
6. Gideon seems to have failed to leave a lasting legacy for his family. After his death, the people returned to their idol worship and forsook God again. While we cannot control the decisions of others, our dedication and love for God can help our family to have firm a foundation that will outlive us and extend into future generations.
A Warrior does not look at his/her own abilities. They rely on God’s strength.
A Warrior knows the voice of God and is confident in obeying.
A Warrior is persistent, moving forward into battle, until the battle is won.
A Warrior is not concerned with personal recognition, but instead giving God all the glory.
A Warrior is careful not to allow pride or self to become an idol. He worships the giver of the victory, not the victory itself.
A Warrior tries to leave a lasting legacy for his family and those around him.