Biblical Story And Lessons Of Gideon
KEY SCRIPTURES: Judges 6-8; Hebrews 11:32-34
Judges 6:16 “Ane the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
Gideon was the son of Joash, from the Abiezrite clan in the tribe of Manasseh and lived in Ephra (Ophrah). He was the least in this father’s house. There was a time that the Israelites sinned against God and God allowed the Midianite to torment them for seven years. God allowed the Israelites to sow in the land, but it is the Midianite that came to harvest all their produce without leaving anything for the children of Israelites’ sheep, ox or ass. The Israelites lived in fear and often hid in mountains, caves and strongholds. The children of Israel were tired of this situation and cried to God to help them. God eventually answered their prayers, and an angel was sent to Gideon where he was hiding the threshed wheat because if he was seen by the Midianite, they would take the wheat from him. The angle greeted Gideon as a man of valour and Gideon said God was not with them again because of their sufferings from the Midianites, but the angel told him that he will deliver the Israelites from the Midianites Gideon doubted this saying because of the smallness of his family and requested for a sign which the angel gave to him. After the angel gave him the sign and disappeared from him, God encouraged him again and he built an altar for God and called the place Jehovahshalom.
God instructed him to take a seven-year-old bullock and throw down the altar of Baal in his father’s house and cut down the grove and build an altar, placing the bullock on it and use another bullock to offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove that he cut down. Gideon took ten men of his servants and did what God had him to do. Even when everyone was against the person that destroy the grove of Baal, but God raised an advocate for him through his father, who told the people to allow Baal fight for itself and his father named him Jerubbaal which was translated to Let Baal plead against him because he has thrown down his altar. Gideon requested that God should let dew be on the fleece of wood only and not on the floor so that he will be sure that God will save Israel through him; God honoured his request even when he asked God to do it twice.
Gideon gathered men for war with the Midianites, but God said they were too much and firstly, he told him that all those that are fearful should return, some men left. Later, God told him to take the men to the river that anyone that uses his tongue to lap the water should be the ones to go with him to battle the Midianites. Gideon and three hundred men gathered to battle the Midianites, during the process, Gideon came across a man that dreamt and the interpretation of the dream was that Gideon will defeat the Midianites. Gideon with the three hundred men with him were able to defeat the Midianites as they blew their trumpets, breaking their empty pitchers and holding their lamps in their left hands. The Midianites ran, cried and fled from Gideon and his men. The men of Ephraim took the two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb, cut their heads and brought their heads to Gideon on the other side of Jordan. When the men of Ephraim accused Gideon of fighting alone, he mentioned that they were the ones that killed the two princes, and their anger ceased. When he was in Succoth and Penuel, he requested the men to give his three hundred men bread and water because they were tired from pursuing after the two kings of Midianites, but they refused, Gideon promised to slew them after he had slew the two kings of Midianites. After the battle, the people requested that Gideon should rule over them, but he told them that only God will rule them, he collected all their golden earrings and used it to make an ephod which caused Israel to ask for worshipping it later on. The Midianites were subdued before the children of Israel and there was quietness in the land for forty years in the days of Gideon. Gideon had 70 sons because he had many wives and his concubine in Shechem bore him a son called Abimelech. Gideon died in a good old age. The life of Gideon contains some biblical lessons to emulate as a believer and this article will make mention of some of the lessons.
- GOD SEES THE BEST IN A PERSON
God visited Gideon in an unusual way, he was hiding from the Midianites because he didn’t want them to forcefully take his crops from him. Even when the angel called him a man of valor, he was quick to point out to the angel that his family was poor, and he was the least in his father’s house, but God saw greatness in him and knew what he could make of his life. He yielded himself to the best God saw in him and God made him to stand out in the land of Israel. As believers, God knows the end from the beginning so we should yield ourselves to his guidance and direction so that he can bring the greatness in us out for the world to see.
2. IDOLS ARE USELESS: Judges 6:25-32
From the story of Gideon, worshipping idols didn’t profit the children of Israel but rather it brought serious hardship into their lives, and they were now living in fear even on their own. When Gideon was asked to destroy the grove of Baal and the people wanted to fight for Baal, Joash, the father of Gideon asked that the idol should prove its divinity and power, but it wasn’t possible because they are nothing and useless. As Christians, we should be careful what we do that takes the place of God in our lives. We should not worship idols because they are useless and not safe in any situation. Only God has the supreme power to save just like He did for Gideon and the children of Israel.
3. GOD IS ALWAYS READY TO INCREASE OUR FAITH IN HIM: Judges 6:11-40
Gideon is a man who has little faith, confidence, and trust in God. The many years of being afflicted by the Midianites and the absence of God’s deliverance has made him spineless and cowardly. Nevertheless, God sees Gideon as an unfinished product. He knows that Gideon is better than his current situation. God will then set different events to further improve the faith of Gideon. God always honours the request of Gideon in order to improve his faith and make him better for the battle ahead. As believers, God is always ready to work and increase His faith in us just as He did for Gideon which will make us the finished product. He created us to be and become his battle-axe to destroy the stronghold of the enemies and have dominion over the forces of this world.
4. GOD DOESN’T REQUIRE MUCH TO PERFORM HIS MIRACLES: Judges 7:1-25
When Gideon gathered many men to battle with the Midianites, God made him realise that he doesn’t require much to perform his miracles and bring victory for the child of Israel. From 32,000 men, God trimmed them to 300 men. God wasn’t about the quantity but about the quality of the men He wanted to use for the victory of Israel. As Christians, God can magnify the little that we have. All we must do is to surrender and give it to Him. If we just keep the little that we have thought that it is nothing, then God will not be able to perform a miracle through us. We must have the faith and surrender everything that we have no matter how small and insignificant they are. From there, we can let God do His part and magnify our work.
5. LET GOD RULE IN ALL THINGS: Judges 8:23
When the people requested that Gideon should rule them, he refused and told them to allow God to rule their lives. The people were living by sight and not by faith in God and Gideon had to point them back to God. He told them to surrender all to God which they did and enjoyed the quietness of forty years. As believers, we should allow God to rule us and not men, though we may suffer for a while but there is assurance of God’s presence to see us through it all and bring us to an expected end.
The biblical story of Gideon shows how insignificant men can rise and become great in the eyes of God. His life story gives us the encouragement that no matter what the situation we may be in right now, God will eventually work things out for good. So just be patient and put your faith in God.