Epistle to the Hebrews (11:32[b])   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets.”

  • Gideon

The story of Gideon is another remarkable story of faith. While Gideon was working to spare grains from Midianites, the angel of God appeared to him amidst this chaotic starvation situation.

The angel told him “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” and Gideon replied: “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” Judges 6:13

It was because Israel sinned that God sent the Midianites to punish them. When we are in trouble and read a piece of scripture which tries to encourage us and tells us God will not abandon us, sometimes we ask ourselves the same question Gideon asked “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us“.  Gideon was in trouble but it was not because he was living a sinful life. Gideon knew what God did in the past, he knew God’s power and wondered why God abandoned Israel.

God told Gideon “Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!

Now let us understand well the context. Judges 6:5 tells us that the enemies of Israels were too numerous to count and Gideon was given the order by God to deliver Israel from them. Once again, God who asked Gideon a humanly impossible task. Gideon had to go as he was, with the strength he had and God would fight for Israel. Gideon was given only as word of hope “I am sending you”. Moses also got a similar answer “I Am has sent me to you” .

The logical response of Gideon at this order was “But Lord,how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh“.  Once again God told Gideon that He will be with him. Not convinced of this answer, Gideon asked for signs.

If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water.” Judges 6:36

Gideon wanted to be sure that he got it right and it was not his imagination which was tricking him. It was a serious decision to take and if he got it wrong, his life and those fighting with him would be lost. So he asked God to make the fleece wet in the morning without the ground being wet. God did answer his prayer to prove that He was really going to be with Gideon. To be sure it was not mere coincidence, Gideon asked again that now the ground should be wet but not the fleece.

Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew. ” Judges 6:39

Gideon had faith when he asked this sign from God and God did grant him this request. However, let us be careful by asking signs from God. In this particular situation, it was God who came to Gideon and asked him to do something impossible. In order for Gideon to go with confidence, God granted him the signs he asked for. As a proof of His promise, God gave a sign to Ezechias when He caused the sun’s shadow to move ten steps backward on the sundial(Isaiah 38:8).

As Christians, we often have to take decisions regarding work, marriage or where to live. Sometimes we try to play Gideon/Ezechias with God and ask for signs. I do not doubt God can give signs but we need to be careful with it. Sometimes we tell God “If I meet an employee from X company then it is a sign that God wants me to leave my work” or “If I get an sms from this girl or boy, then God wants me to marry him/her“.

As Christians, God has given us the freedom to choose . What the bible tells us about work is to be working honestly and hard. If we have the opportunity to take another job, ask God to put peace in your heart for that decision.

As the book of Proverbs says:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;do not depend on your own understanding.Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” Proverbs 3:5,6

When Gideon went on to fight the Midianites army, we see God almighty removing even the little military forces Gideon had. God is reputed for doing such things. This is what God said to Gideon:

You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.”

Remember that the Midianites were very numerous and humanly speaking it required massive deployment of military forces. But God is a jealous God and He did not want to give His glory to anyone else. So He stripped Israel of its military forces so that they do not boast about the victory. Gideon went to war with 32000 warriors but God’s will was that only 300 should go. That’s reducing the army to almost 1/100th! If God did not give these signs to Gideon, I guess he would have struggled to carry on. God put confusion amidst the Midianites army and they killed each other. Even though it was impossible and not logical to fight this huge army, Gideon kept his faith on God. Let us remember that God uses the weak things of this world to shame the strong (1 Cor 1:27).


Posted June 2, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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