Lessons From Gideon, Part 4
If you missed previous posts in this Lessons from Gideon series, scroll down to the bottom of this post. You’ll find them them there!
Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen…
The Midianites had been harrassing the Israelites for seven long years, and once again they arrive for their annual attack. This time they even bring along some buddies: “Now all the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples joined forces and crossed over the Jordan and camped in the valley of Jezreel. Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him. He sent messengers throughout Manasseh, calling them to arms, and also into Asher, Zebulon and Naphtali, so that they too went up to meet them.” (Judges 6:33-35)
Gideon was no longer a no-name farmer. News about him breaking down his father’s altar to Baal had spread, and his challenge to Baal had earned him the nickname Jerub-Baal, meaning “let Baal contend for himself.” Gideon’s reputation had spread, and in the next chapter of Judges we find proof of that: his call for an army resulted in 32,000 responses! His transformation from farmer to leader had begun.
Begun…But Not Done
But the transformation was not yet complete. Change is seldom instantaneous; more often it is a process, not an overnight experience. Gideon still had some of his old insecurities. He knew God had promised victory…but still he wasn’t sure. So Gideon puts God to the test: “Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand as you have promised– look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” And that is what happened. Gideon rose early the next day; he squeezed the fleece and wrung out the dew– a bowlful of water.” (Judges 6:36-38)
Sidestepping the physical laws of nature which He Himself established, God grants Gideon’s request. You would think the matter was now settled– but Gideon, wanting to guard against the infinitesimal possibility of a coincidence, boldly asks God to reverse the process! “Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me. Let me make just one more request. Allow me one more test with the fleece, but this time make the fleece dry and let the ground be covered with dew.” That night God did so. Only the fleece was dry; all the ground was covered with dew.” (Judges 6:39-40)
And, incredibly, God again does as Gideon requests. There can be no doubting God’s will now.
What Does This Have To Do With Me?
There are many lessons we can glean from these verses:
- God is patient. Gideon’s hesitance is a bit hard to put up with when we recall that he has seen an angel of the Lord who called him “Mighty Warrior,” and almighty God has promised “I will be with you,” and that same all-powerful God has already told him that he would win the victory. And yet Gideon still seeks miraculous proof, not once but twice! Admit it: if you were God, would you be that patient with this guy? I know I wouldn’t. And yet…God is. God is patient with Gideon. And God will be patient with you and I, as we go through our own transformation.
- God understands. When we are weak, when we are uncertain, when we are fearful– God understands. He doesn’t strike us down at the first sign of failure. Instead, He helps us up and sets us on the right path again…and again…and again. He knows our frailties, and He doesn’t hold that against us. But He does encourage us to move forward, to stretch our faith, to become all that He has designed us to become.
- God is with us. Gideon wanted what we all want: reassurance that we are not alone, that God is with us. Sometimes we don’t feel His presence– but feelings are fickle and don’t always speak the truth. God does speak the truth, always and only, and He has promised, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”
God was not done with Gideon, and He is not finished with us, either. The story of Gideon shows us that change is possible– and that God can handle any doubts we have. So be encouraged! No matter where you are on your journey, take comfort in the fact that God is patient, God understands, and God is with you– always and forever.
When we read about Gideon’s fleeces, we may think, “Two miracles in a row. Wow!” But actually, a third miracle occurred the very next day, one that might easily be overlooked. We find it in the next chapter of Judges. Stay tuned!
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Who Are You Listening To? Lessons from Gideon, part 1 http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/who-are-you-listening-to
Transformation: Wimp To Warrior, Lessons from Gideon, part 2 http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/transformation-wimp-to-warrior
Tearing Down, Building Up, Lessons from Gideon, part 3 http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/tearing-down-building-up