Gideon: The General Who Was Afraid

Today’s Reading: Judges 6:1-8:3

Here comes my confession – I have never read about Gideon before today. I knew of his story because my children told me – they actually broke a clay jar in their Sunday school room to demonstrate this story, where my daughter got a cut on her arm from a piece of broken clay jar (her proud battle would)! So it was doubly wonderful for me finally to read actual scriptures!

I wish I could say what Gideon says to the angel of the Lord — I mean, if I see the Angel, I think I would be speechless or I would faint, but this man actually complains first by saying “But, sir, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” Of course he did not look at what his people did (turning away from God) first to lose the presence of God! How typical for us to question the angel of the Lord first – how could you? Then, Gideon has audacity to test the Lord by making Him to show 3 signs: instant burning of offerings, wet fleece and dry fleece. Don’t you do that? I used to do that all the time and now I tend to step into this “signage” demand from time to time — God, give me a sign if you want me to do this! The problem is sometime that I interpret anything around me to satisfy what I want to do in the first place, but justify by saying “See, God said OK”! In fact, if I trust God more, I should not ask for signs, but just do what He directs me in the first place…

Gideon does what God asked him to do, but “at night” when no one saw him. See what God says first “Do not be afraid. You are not going to die” before he even does anything – how well God knows us! Do you recall I wrote some time ago that there are more than 70 reference to “do not be afraid” – God commanded us more not to be afraid than to love! Anyway, Gideon does God’s work at night because he was afraid of what other people would do against him. Oh, boy… How many times in my life did I do something because I was afraid what others would say about me? I let fear of others overcome my fear of God! How crazy but how often do we do that?

I am not a military strategist, but I truly find God’s strategy senseless to me! Don’t you? God said to Gideon that he got too many men. Huh? “In order that Israel may not boast against me that he own strength has saved her” We have absolutely no way to take such credit because the strategy is so senseless! It is quite scary how well God knows us. When you do something you know for sure it is not possible for you to do, you know for sure that it is God who does all those works and should get all the glory (credit), not you!

Finally, I love what the Ephraimites says afterward – “why didn’t you call us when you went to fight Midian?” Are you kidding! Who’s in charge? God, not you! Let me ask you the questions I have asked myself this morning: (1) are you doing God’s work “at night” when no one can see you (God’s work)? (2) are you asking God to prove himself to you by giving you your requested signs before you do His work? (3) are you thinking that you are in charge? If you say “yes” to any one of these questions, please read today’s passage again!

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