Gideon is one of my favorite characters in the book of Judges for a couple of reasons. The first is his radical transformation and the effect it has on his whole community. When we meet Gideon, he is threshing wheat in a winepress to hide from the Midianites because the oppression was so extensive. After a visit from the angel of the LORD Gideon is told that he is the one, chosen by God, to deliver the Israelites from the hand of Midian. Before he sets out to do so, there is a test of obedience. Gideon must first go to his father’s house and destroy the altar to Baal and the Ashram pole, which were both commonly pagan gods amongst Israel. After Gideon is obedient, the people of the town come looking for Gideon to take his life because he had likely angered “the gods.” At this point Gideon’s father reminds the people that if Baal were any sort of god at all, he would contend for himself and strike Gideon dead. Gideon remained alive and was given the name Jerub-Baal, which means “contends with Baal.” I can only imagine what an impact this began to have on the people of Israel.
The second reason is because of his faith in the face of insurmountable odds. When told to lead the Israelites into battle with the Midianites, Israel was out matched in every way. They were squaring up against an army of around 125,000 while their numbers were 32,000. As if this weren't enough, God tells Gideon that he still has too many. Eventually, the Israelite numbers were down to 300. Three hundred men facing 125,000 and they are told to take trumpets, clay pots, and torches into battle. Gideon is faithful and God does His thing and the victory is won. After Gideon leads the Israelites to overthrow their oppressor, the men of Israel ask Gideon and his sons to rule over them. Gideon’s answer is priceless, “ I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.” What a heart, considering the people demand a king in 1 Samuel 8. It seems like Gideon gets the big picture.
However, after Gideon grows old he makes the people bring him a bunch of gold. “Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshipping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.” —Judges 8:27. How many times do we get too comfortable when we think all the work is done and we let our guard down? We prepare for the enemy and may even experience victory, but it’s the small overlooked battles that usually trip us up. Look at Solomon as another example. He asks for wisdom and God grants it to him. In fact, he is described as the wisest man to ever walk the earth and at the end of his reign, he too leads the Israelites into idol worship because he was involved with so many women from so many different nations. We must always be on our guard!
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
(2 Corinthians 10:5)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
(1 Corinthians 10:13)
Serving Christ Together,