Saturday, October 17, 2009


The Midianites were impoverishing Israel year after year when the Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon. The words of the Lord to Gideon make me smile, “The LORD is with you, Mighty Warrior (Judges 6:12). The reading of Gideon’s account gives us little to think he was a mighty warrior! Gideon’s response to these words remind me of my last post here on suffering, “If the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian” (Judges 6:13). Gideon equated the suffering of God’s people with abandonment by God.

The Lord gave Gideon the assignment to save Israel from Midian. Gideon’s response? “How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judges 6:15). How often in the scriptures do we see God choosing to use the lowly for his work? Moses, a shepherd in the back side of the desert who couldn’t speak. David, the youngest of his family and a shepherd. A bunch of fishermen and a tax collector. His strength is made perfect in our weakness!

What Gideon does in response to God’s call would really try my patience if I were the Lord. He wants a sign. So God gives him a sign. Gideon brings a sacrificial goat and lays it on a rock and the Lord touches it with his staff and consumes the sacrifice. OK! Gideon gets to work and tears down the altar to Baal and the Asherah pole and builds an altar to God (but he does it at night because he was still afraid of his family and his fellow townsmen.

The Spirit of the LORD comes upon Gideon and he blows the trumpet summoning his tribe to war. But he seems to have a few more misgivings. This is where the sign with the fleece is requested, just to make sure! In fact, he does it twice, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece…” (Judges 6:39).

This passage fills me with comfort. Behold the patience of God! God calls a lowly man to do a great thing. The lowly man has many doubts. He hesitates. He wavers. God gives him sign after sign, promise after promise. God will use this man! God will show patience! God will bring about a great victory in spite of the weakness of his servant!

I’m so glad! Aren’t you?


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