Why Was Gideon Allowed To Test God
God saw a mighty man of valor when He looked at Gideons heart. Since Gideon was the youngest in his family and his tribe was considered the smallest of Israel, he was surely overlooked by everyone in the village. But Gods standard doesnt rest on human estimation. His ways are higher than ours. Jesus said, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight .
Israel had given itself over to the detestable beliefs and practices of the pagan nations. God saw in Gideon the man He had created him to benot the sinful man he had become. When Gideon stepped out in obedience, despite his doubts and fear, and tore down his fathers pagan altarsGod ignited his faith. But that faith still required cultivation.
Just like God chose to whittle away the number of Israelite warriors so that He would receive the glory from the victory over the Midianites, he chose a frightened young man, with no merit or strong faith of his own, so that through Gideons weakness Gods power would be revealed as perfect.
After God permitted the fleece testing, He then put Gideons burgeoning faith to the test by refusing to let Gideon have a cushion of a bulky army, explains Hope Bolinger in Who Was Gideon?
Gideon And The Army Of 300
When God wanted Gideon to bring an army to take on the enormous Midianite army, he brings 32,000 men . Although not as sizeable as the Midianites, its enough for Gideon to be comfortable with leading the charge.
God has other plans. He decides to enlist a series of tests of His own on Gideon, reminiscent of the tests Gideon had for Him in the previous chapter.
- First, he makes Gideon send home anyone who is afraid. It turns out 22,000 of the people in the army have their doubts and head on their way.
- Now, with 10,000 left, God makes them drink water. Apparently only 300 of the men drank water via putting their hands to their mouths. The other 9,700 who knelt to drink are sent home.
With just 300 men now, Gideon knows he has to rely on God to provide a miracle.
But God has an even odder plan in place. They wont even have to invade or attack to wipe out the Midianites. He has them create as much noise as possible by blaring trumpets and smashing jars.
This confuses the men in the Midianite camp, and they end up killing each other in the chaos.
Why Was Gideon Called Jerubbaal
Gideons family was as idolatrous as the rest of Israel. So as his first task, God commanded Gideon to destroy the altar of Baal that belonged to his father. Then he was to build an altar to God on the rock on which he had offered his sacrifice that was consumed by fire.
Because Gideon feared the people who were so loyal to Baal, he decided to destroy the idol at night. In the morning, when the people realized what he had done, they were very angry at him.
Thats when Joash, Gideons father, stood in defense of his son and convinced the people that if Baal could not defend his own altar, then they could not defend him.
This led to Joash renaming Gideon, Jerubbaal, meaning, Let Baal contend against him, because he has thrown down his altar .
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Iv Private Faithfulness Is A Prerequisite To Public Usefulness
Before Gideon can be used publicly, he must first clean up his own backyard. His family was breaking the 1st and 2nd commandments, with idols to Baal on their property. So the first assignment from the Lord was to take his dad’s special seven-year-old bull and tear down the idols. Then, Gideon was to sacrifice that prized bull using the wood from the destroyed idol.
What’s the point in telling us this? If you want to learn how to trust God, you must first set your own house in order. Before God can use you mightily, He must be magnified in your own life, in your own home. Private worship prepares us for public power from God. There are no short cuts. So is there anything you’ve been holding on to? Is there any sin that you’re clinging to? Knock down your idols. Confess you sin. Deal with it and return to full obedience to God.
Will it stir things up to do this? Sure it will, but God will honor those who honor Him! It happened for Gideon. Evidently, this bull was community breeding stock owned by Gideon’s family. Verse 30 reports that the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son. He must die.” But Gideon’s act was already affecting change. His father, Joash, awoke to the truth and stood up to the men, asking in v. 31, “Would you plead Baal’s case for him? . . . If he is a god, let him plead his own case.”
Learning From The Story Of Gideon In The Bible
The key is getting past the questions, the fear, and the doubt ragging to hold us back and letting God set us free. Allowing the chains that have held us in bondage for so long to fall away. We may not get the answers to all of our questions now or in our lifetime. But we can not let them become a prison for us. Gideon is the perfect example of letting go of our doubts and facing our fears to embrace what the Lord is trying to do in our life.
The Lord you serve is in control, He is not asleep, nor is the storm too strong for Him. Hes seen every heartbreak, He knows every doubt, Hes caught every tear. Even in your darkest, most fearful moment, you have been held safely in his hands without a chance of slipping through the cracks. You can never be lost to Him. He is not done. Your story is not over yet, Hes been with you, walking through the fire every step of the way.
Are you ready? Like Gideon in the Bible to face your fears, to step out of your winepress and be set free? To step into the plan the Lord has for your life?
Before you go, check these out!
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What Can We Learn From Gideons Story
1. God can work with a little bit of faith.
Overall, we can learn that God can work through anyone, even timid believers of little faith.
A leader doesnt always mean the boldest and most extroverted. God often works through believers who come from the least of the least, like Gideon. When were hiding from what scares us most, God compels us to tackle it head on.
2. But God wants us to trust Him.
Second, God doesnt allow metaphorical crutches. Although he plays along with Gideons fleece tests, when it comes to the actual battle, he refuses to let Gideon have a cushion of a bulky army. Reducing him to the bare essentials of 300, they know they have to rely on God for a victory.
The same happens in our lives.
We can often have various cushions that offer comfort. Maybe we have jobs that provide enough income for a cozy retirement or other members of the church who step up into leadership roles wed rather not fill ourselves. We can only hide on the threshing floor for so long before God pulls us out of our comfort zones to do His amazing work.
No matter what the case, God will reduce our numbers down to 300. When He does so, we have to rely on Him to do what we thought was impossible.
Israel Was Oppressed By The Midianites
The Israelites were not supposed to be like the surrounding nations in Canaan. God had commanded them to be different. And not to bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their works but.. …utterly overthrow them and completely break down their sacred pillars. .
However, after the death of Joshua, the Israelites stopped fighting. They worshipped the locals Idols, and God delivered the Israelites into their enemys hands .
The surrounding nations started oppressing them. But God did not forsake His people entirely. He raised deliverers or judges for the Israelites. But once the deliverer died, the Israelites went back to idol worship, and God forsook them again.
This cycle continued until the time of the Midianites oppression. The Midianites were almost wiped out during the time of Moses . But by the time of Gideon, they had grown to become a powerful nation.
And since Gods protection was no longer on Israel, the Midianites seized the opportunity for revenge. They came to Israel as soon as harvest time began and remained there until the harvest had ended.
The Midianites took away all the harvest that the Israelites had worked for, robbing and mistreating them. So the Israelites hid in walled cities, fortresses and even caves.
After seven years of oppression, the Israelites confessed their sin and sought Gods intervention. God answered by giving them another deliverer.
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The People Had To Return To God Before They Were Ready For Gideon In The Bible
Like every great move of God in the Bible, these are the precursors to Gods hand moving. Before the people would be ready for the next Judge, this prophet had to prepare their hearts. They first needed to repent from their sins, face their fears, and be reminded of Gods love and what He had done for them.
They had to be reminded that despite the times that the people rebelled against God, He still loved them. Just as He had loved them enough to save them from Egypt then, He loved them enough to save them from the now Midianites. But the prophet also reminds the people that it isnt the Midianites that are the problem, but their own hearts.
Who Was Gideon And What Is His Story
When we see Gideon, he is threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress. This isnt the normal place to thresh wheat. You would normally thresh wheat in the field. But Gideon was afraid because of the constant turmoil caused by the Midianites.
An angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and says, Mighty warrior, the Lord is with you!
Gideon was probably feeling the exact opposite of a warrior. He was afraid of his enemy before and now he hears an angel of the Lords voice. He was probably trembling in his sandals and thinking, Who me?
However, he did gather the courage to ask the Lord why He was allowing the Midianites to overtake his people.
The Lord simply said, Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel. I am sending you!
Gideon probably regretted asking after he heard the Lords answer. The Lord was asking him to save his people? How could he do such an immense task? He was weak and he came from a family of meek people.
The Lord reiterated, I will be with you and you will destroy the Midianites easily.
Gideon assumed he wasnt going to get off the hook. So he asked the Lord to prove to him that He was actually the Lord. Gideon wanted proof. Gideon asked him to wait there while he prepared a sacrificial meal to bring back to the Lord.
The Lord agreed and waited for Gideon to return.
The Lord assured Gideon that he wouldnt die.
Even after all of this, Gideon still doubted that the Lord could use him in such a big way. How could he rescue Israel?
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Life Of Gideon Bible Study Notes Verse By Verse
Gideon Portrait of a Valiant Warrior
A Surprising Greeting
Text: Judges 6:11-7:25
11 Then the angel of the LORD came and sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites.
12 The angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, The LORD is with you, O valiant warrior.
· Who is the angel of the Lord that appears to Gideon? He appears 16 times in the Old Testament and perhaps once on the New Testament. Sometimes, He identifies Himself, sometimes others identify him and sometimes Scripture refers to Him only as The Angel of the Lord
· Here are several instances in which He is clearly identified.
These examples clearly reveal the identity of the Angel of the Lord. It is the Lord Himself. Though some commentators believe it is the Father appearing in human form, most concur that the appearances are of the pre-incarnate Lord Jesus. These appearances are called Christophanies
· Note two positive aspects of this greeting
1. First is the assurance that the Lord is with him.
a. Gideon will be asked to do some difficult assignments, but he will not be alone. The Lord promises His presence with him. Thus, success and victory in the assignments are assured.
b. Though Gideon tends to be fearful, this first communication from the Lord provides a solid foundation for faith and courage to handle his assignments
· A good verse on this principle is
· Ex 3:11
Vi Success Is Determined By God’s Power Not Ours
Gideon’s now ready to rumble but God has other plans. In Judges 7:2, the Lord said to Gideon, The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many people for Me to hand the Midianites over to you, or else Israel might brag: ‘I did it myself.'” God proceeds to give Gideon a couple of tests to whittle the number down. The first test culled 22,000 men out of the army, leaving 10,000. Still too many, said God.
So in v. 4, a second test was given. God tells Gideon to take his men down to the water and let them drink. Weed out any men who stick their face down into the water to drink keep the ones who ladle the water to their mouths with their hands. Gideon must have gulped hard when he counted how many were disqualified: 9700 were out, leaving only 300 men.
Can you imagine how Gideon felt? Chapter 8 tells us that the Midianite army numbered 135,000 men. That’s 450 Midianites to every one Israeli soldier. God wants Gideon’s army to face this horde with a mere 300 men who know how to drink politely!
It happened in Israel. In one of the strangest battle strategies in history, the 300 went out with trumpets, torches, and jars to meet the marauding Midianites. God sent confusion into the ranks of the enemy so that they began attacking each other. When it was over, 120,000 Midianites had killed one another and the other 15,000 fled. It was over. God had answered Israel’s prayers. He used a common man who believed God.
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The Test Of The Fleece
Even after all these encounters with God, Gideon was still timid and unsure of his calling. Gideon still needed assurance that God was going to save Israel through him.
Gideon asked for another sign. He asked that the Lord make a fleece wet overnight while the ground remained dry, the Lord did it.
But since the fleece naturally absorbs water in the air at night, he decided to ask God to make the ground wet and the fleece dry. And our patient Lord did it again. All doubts having been cleared, Gideons timidity turned to courage. He was ready for battle.
Gideon And His 300 Men
DO YOU see what is happening here? These are all fighting men of Israel. The men bending down are taking a drink. Judge Gide·on is the man standing close to them. He is watching how they drink the water.
Look closely at the different ways in which the men are drinking. Some are putting their face right down to the water. But one is taking the water up in his hands, so that he can watch what is going on around him. This is important, for Jehovah told Gide·on to choose only the men who keep watching while they drink. The rest, God said, should be sent home. Lets see why.
The Israelites are in a lot of trouble again. The reason is that they have not obeyed Jehovah. The people of Midi·an have gained power over them and are hurting them. So the Israelites cry to Jehovah for help, and Jehovah listens to their cries.
Jehovah tells Gide·on to get an army, so Gide·on gathers together 32,000 fighting men. But there is an army of 135,000 men against Israel. And yet Jehovah tells Gide·on: You have too many men. Why did Jehovah say that?
It is because if Israel won the war, they might think that they won by themselves. They might think that they didnt need Jehovahs help to win. So Jehovah says to Gide·on: Tell all the men who are afraid to go back home. When Gide·on does this, 22,000 of his fighting men go home. That leaves him only 10,000 men to fight against all those 135,000 soldiers.
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Gideon Bible Story Summary With Lesson
Gideon was the fifth judge over Israel in the book of Judges. He is introduced in chapter 6 of the book while he was collecting wheat and hiding it from the enemy. An angel came to him and asked him to take on the task of overthrowing the Midianites.
The story of Gideon is full of little lessons that we can learn today. This story is a popular childrens story for Sunday School, but it is very applicable for adults as well.
I God Uses Tough Times To Get Our Attention
As we open Judges 6, we find the nation of Israel coming off a time of relative ease. The bills are paid, the kids are behaving, and business is good. Everything’s coming up roses. And as it tends to happen to us all in such times, Israel forgot God. They became self-sufficient. They didn’t need God. So the Lord shook things up by rousing an enemy against them to show them how hard life can be without Him.
Verse 1 says that the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD handed them over to Midian for seven years. You need to know that the Midianites were extremely powerful and oppressed the Israelites mercilessly. Every year around harvest time, the nomadic Midianites would invade Israel. And v. 5 tells us that they would come in like locusts, ravaging the land. What they couldn’t carry with them they destroyed. The Bible reports that it was so bad many of the Israelites left their homes to live in caves and strongholds, fearing for their lives.
Here’s the point: When tough times come, instead of looking at them as if God is punishing you, try to see them as God’s gift of grace.
Proverbs 3:11-12: Do not despise the LORD’s instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline 12 for the LORD disciplines the one He loves, just as a father, the son he delights in. He loves you too much to let you keep living the way you are. He longs to be at the center of your life. So He has designs in our troubles, and they are always for our good.
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