Day 71: Judges 6-8; Gideon

Apart from the story of Sampson, Gideon would probably be considered one of the greatest, or at least most well known of the judges.  His story and all that goes with it are the subject of many Sunday School lessons about testing and trusting in God.  There are many facets to the story when we look at it from those angels, but again in this story I think we need to take a step back and look first at where God is in all of this, and how He acts for the people of Israel.

We read first that the Lord visits Gideon by way of an angel and the Gideon doesn’t recognize it until after a rather obvious sign is given to him.  After this sign, the meal he has prepared bursting into flames, Gideon still questions and tests God, just to make sure.  He kind of reminds me of another great leader of Israel that we had been talking about, Moses.  Even after being given signs and the promises of God Himself, still neither one of these men are willing to outright trust God.  Moses resisted so much that God became angry with him, Gideon tests God up to the hours and minutes prior to their attack.  Though I have to give Gideon some credit, he was still willing to go to the camp of his enemy with only 300 people, down from an army of 32,000.  However, it wasn’t until the he heard from the mouth of his enemy that the Lord was going to give the Midianites into the hands of Israel did he have the courage to face them.  I wonder what would have happened if he had heard this and then had to wait a day or two before he attacked.  Would his confidence have waned again?  Who knows…

In all this though, we really haven’t talked about God’s place in this story.  God shows up very clearly at the beginning, being present and hearing the cries of the people of Israel in their oppression.  God reminds them through a prophet of the covenant that they made and how they had broken it.  Yet once again He doesn’t leave them in their misery but raises up a great Judge, albeit a reluctant one.  God goes ever before them, preparing the enemy for defeat before Gideon even arrives, much less when he attacks.  God answers very clearly the challenge of Gideon’s father when he suggests that the people, angered by the breaking of baal’s alter (which they had no right or reason to have in the first place), that baal should contend for himself, if indeed he is a god.  And finally, the Lord is with Gideon and the people of Israel after their defeat giving rest to the Land even when the people “whore” after the ephod that Gideon creates.

Once again we see the true nature of God revealed in this story.  Though He punishes the people of Israel for their sins, God is not unmerciful or unforgiving.  He once again upholds His side of the covenant, a relationship that is kept from God’s side despite the continual unfaithfulness of Israel.  This is the true nature of God’s faithfulness and unconditional love, that even when Israel walks away God remains steadfast and unchanging in His commitment to His people.  He truly is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love!


2 Responses to “Day 71: Judges 6-8; Gideon”

  1. myrnafolkert says:

    I was thinking as I was reading this passage again. The Lord sent Gideon an angel, and did a miraculous wonder of having his bread blow up in flames. Gideon got signs and wonders–the wet fleece and the dry fleece. He had God talking to him personally, and telling him that he would not need nearly that many men in his army. Then God gave him words of knowledge about exactly which men were the ones who should stay in the army, by the way they drank at the water. To top it off, he was given a word from the Lord that if he was still afraid, he could go to the enemy camp and listen in a dream and an interpretation of that dream from apparent unbelievers. I get frustrated, thinking, “why doesn’t Gideon believe after all these signs and wonders and miraculous things that happen to him?”. Then I remember, oh yeah, that’s me too. I keep asking God over and over, “are you sure, am I hearing you correctly?”. I am the same way. I guess that’s why God shows us so many examples of these biblical characters being so human, so that we will learn from them!

  2. […] what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— who through faith conquered […]

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