(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)
The next verse in the Hall of Heroes is Hebrews 11:32. And in this one verse there are mentioned a number of heroes of the faith! The first one listed is Gideon: “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets.” Six named heroes, and a large number of unnamed “prophets”!
Let’s consider Gideon. This hero had a large set of clay feet! For he is known as the man who, because of his doubts, tested the LORD! But I like Gideon! For, you see, even though he had his major doubts, God still used him! And he reminds me of me!
Israel had slid into idolatry – again! They were worshiping Baal, the storm god of the Midianites (see Judges 6:1-33). “So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Mideanites, and the children of Israel cried out to the LORD.” (Judges 6:6). God appeared to Gideon with the directive to deliver Israel from its enemies. This man was an unlikely deliverer!
...the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!...Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?” (Judges 6:11 and 14).
- Gideon’s first objection to God’s commission is in Judges 6:15: “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” God’s answered, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Mideanites as one man.” (Judges 6:16).
There are two verses in Jeremiah and one in Matthew (repeated in Mark and Luke):
✡ Jeremiah 32:27 – “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” ✡ Jeremiah 32:17 – “Ah, LORD God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.” ✞ Matthew 19:26 – “...Jesus...said unto them, ‘With men it is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
Isn’t Gideon’s argument pretty much the same one we use when God’s leads us to do something for Him we consider difficult? “…LORD, how can I…? …my [family]…is the weakest…and I am least in my father’s house.” But what is written in our Bibles?
✞ Matthew 28:18 through 20 – Jesus said, “All au- thority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore and make disciples...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ✞ Hebrews 13:5 – “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ✞ Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
- Gideon’s second objection is in the form of a test: “…show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Do not depart from here…until I come…and bring…my offering and set it before You.” (Judges 6:17 and 18).
✡ “If it is really You, God, prove it!” Do we ever challenge the Lord like that – especially when He tells us to do something we really don’t want to do? ✡ But God accepted Gideon’s challenge! Then Gideon...prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread... and...broth in a pot ....The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and...bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth….” Then the Angel of the LORD put out...His...staff and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and...bread. And the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. (Judges 6:19 through 21).
- God’s next command is in Judges 6:25 and 26: “…tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it; and build an altar to the LORD…and offer a burnt sacrifice….” The timid character of Gideon shown forth in his response: “But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night.” (Judges 6:27).
What does the Word of God admonish us to be and do?
✡ Joshua 1:9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dis- mayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” ✞ Ephesians 6:10 – “...be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
And the LORD honored this doubting man’s request! “When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out…a bowl full of water.” (Judges 6:38).
But it wasn’t enough for Gideon! For his fourth objection, he tested God again! “Do not be angry with me…let me test…just once more…let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” (Judges 6:39).
The LORD is so patient! “And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.” (Judges 6:40).
- There was a fifth test, but I think we can forgive Gideon on this one. He called together an army of Israelites 22,000 strong! And God reduced it, first to 10,000, and then to 300! (see Judges 7:1-7).
✡ Consider the enemy Gideon was facing: Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the val- ley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea- shore in multitude. (Judges 7:12).
And he was to fight them with just 300 men?
✡ So God sent him and his servant clandestinely down to the enemy camp, saying, “If you are still afraid, go down to the camp...and...hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened...” (Jud- ges 7:10 and 11). There they overheard two of the enemy talking: ➔ Said one, “I have just had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp...; it...struck...a tent... so that...the tent collapsed.” (Judges 7:13). ➔ His companion replied, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon...a man of Israel; for into his hand God has deliv- ered Midian and the whole camp.” (Judges 7:14).
This gave him the confidence he needed! Gideon took his 300 men, his only ‘weapons’ being pitchers, torches, and trumpets – and he won the battle! Or I should say, God won the battle! He caused the enemy such confusion in the middle of the night, they turned on one another, and wiped each other out! The details are too long to reproduce here. You will just have to read it from Judges 7:15 through 25.
Yes, I have my doubts, but Gideon and his story encourages me! And it should do the same for you!
No one is too insignificant or too timid
to be used of God!