The life of Gideon is set out in Judges chapters 6 to 8. Judges relate to the time between Joshua and the first king of Israel. Israel entered the Canaan land led by Joshua. When he died, no one was accepted as a single leader and chaos reigned. The catch phrase during this period was “they all did what was good in their own eyes”. The period of judges was 450 years and there were 15 judges, one of them being Gideon.There were 4 cyclical stages in Israel – a) rebellion (sin) – when a judge died, the people would go back into sin and worship gods of the Canaanites – the main one being Baal who was considered to be the son of El (God) and his mother was Asherahb) retribution (suffering) would then follow as a result of God’s judgement c) repentance (supplication) the people would cry to God for mercy d) restoration ( saved) – and God would heed their cries and raise up a judge to deliver them. This cycle would be repeated during the period of 450 yearsJudges 6:11-12 When the Angel (the word angel with a capital ‘A’ speaks of pre-incarnate Jesus) of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he was threshing wheat in a wine-press, because he was frightened that the Midianites would come and take away the wheat. But he is addressed as a man of valour. When Jesus sees us, He sees the potential in us!
Judges 6:13 Gideon is not confident about himself and also God. We also question God and ask where are You? Be patient, greatest miracle is just about to happen. 6:14. Has the Lord not sent us? Go in His name! 6:15 Gideon understands God’s greatness but, he now focusses on himself. He calls himself the ‘least’ even though he knows that God has chosen him.We need to understand that it is “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit” says the Lord (Zech 4:6). 6:16 God’s sufficiency is revealed. He always assures us. Is there anything to difficult for Me? (Jer 32:27) What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Rom 8:3)
Judges 6:25 Gideon’s first assignment is to cut down the wooden image in his own house. Incidentally, ‘Gideon’ means ‘one who cuts down’. Judgment had to begin in his own house first! ‘For the time has come for judgement to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1 Pet 4:17a). Judges 6:34:35 Midian had a vast array of soldiers. i.e. 1,35,000 while the men who responded to Gideon’s call to war were 35,000 that is a ratio of 1:4.Besides, Gideon’s men had no skill in warfare. Judges 7:3 But, God finds them too many and after Gideon’s call for the fearful to depart, 10,000 men remain; the ratio being 1:13. Judges 7:4-6 Yet, God finds them too many and brings them to the water to drink of it. Those who lap putting their hands to the mouth being 300 men, are chosen from those who go down on their knees to drink water. These men displayed a state of preparedness. The ratio now is 1:450 Judges 7:16The 300 men instead of being equipped with weapons of warfare, are given trumpets, empty jars and torches. ‘Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men’ (1 Cor. 1:25).
Judges 8:22-27 People began to put Gideon on a pedestal. He did not want to be a king but, wanted to be remembered so he made an ephod. It became a snare for Israel as they began to worship it. Gideon began well but did not end well. India’s O.P. Jaisha fell unconscious after crossing the finishing line of the marathon at the Rio Olympics as she was not provided with stipulated refreshments during the course of the race. When revived after 3 hours, she was asked why she did not give up when her life was at stake. She replied: If I ran for myself, I would have given up, but I ran for my country.
How much more we, who are children of the Almighty God! We should not only start well, but finish well! Ï have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith (2 Tim. 4: 7). Lord, help us to cross the finishing line. In Jesus name, Amen.