Gideon, from Zero to a Hero

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How to conquer our fears and doubts

As a farmer , Gideon possessed zero credibility to act as a general in the army neither had he any training at all to be a soldier.  An ordinary man of no reputation yet he rose from zero to a hero of faith in Hebrews 11.   He  proved himself to be a brilliant military strategist when he led 300 warriors to fight legions of Midianites.

For 7 years, Israel faced numerous invasions from their enemies who ruined their crops, devastated their cattle and livelihood.

The invaders forced them to build shelters in mountain clefts, caves and strong holds.  Surely the  consequence of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God when they worship foreign gods and idols!

When the  Israelites hit rock bottom  they cried out to God for help.    Later God sent them a prophet reminding them how He rescued them from slavery in Egypt and how He commanded them not to worship idols in the Promised land.

How quickly they had forsaken and disobeyed God (Judges 6:8-10).   Yet He heard their lament by sending an angel to Gideon while he was threshing wheat in a winepress pit.  Gideon accepted the challenge after overcoming his doubts and fears. He recruited 32,000 men to defend Israel from invasion .

Against their enemies swarming like locusts, Israel was definitely outnumbered.   Gideon discharged those fearful ones leaving him 10,000 warriors.  But God  said “there are still many men” so a water drinking test was initiated.  The Lord eliminated those who kneel  at the river banks from those who lapped like a dog with their hand.

With the remaining 300 who laps water like a dog  it’s getting crazier because God told them to fight with just trumpets and jars.  When they blew the trumpets and shattered the jars with torches inside, their enemies turned to one another. They killed each other screaming and  running in all directions.  All hell break lose!!!  Chaos and confusion descended in the enemy camp.  And Israel wins.

Worship in Battle

The story sounds similar in 2 Chronicles 20 when King Jehoshaphat won the war  sending his Worship team.  Here in Judges 7 Gideon’s 300 seemed to worship God by blowing  trumpets and breaking jars.  Surely this is God’s size solution to this giant problem.

If God  allowed 32K or 10k man to fight the Midianites, the Israelites would have boasted that they won the battle by their own strength.  But with 300 man God would get the full credit.  Yes, God deserves all glory.  Here’s 3 lessons in Gideon’s  story:

Lesson 1: God sees the Best in You

Hiding in fear in a pit while threshing  wheat,  an angel  appeared to Gideon and addressed him as “mighty warrior”.  “Save Israel from the Midianites “!  and a quizzical response “Who,  why me?”

Gideon had a reality check.  “I am just a lowly farmer, my name means ‘cutter’ — it sucks. I belong to  the weakest and the least  clan of Manasseh. The lowest in the food chain.   So me against all our enemies who are skilled warriors countless as swarms of locusts in Judges 6:5, 7:12. “ Are you kidding me? “

Evidently, Gideon was terrified to face the enemy.  He doubted God 3x, despite the miracles in the burnt offering and the 2 fleece test.  But God was patient with Gideon.  Mighty warrior was a prophetic word, its Gideon’s future.

Okay maybe pathetic not prophetic – that’s how the enemy would taunt you!  However God declares what you could become, He sees the best in you.  You are not who you think and say you are.  You are not who people think and say you are.  YOU are WHO God think and says you are.

Lesson 2:When God gives vision, He gives the provision

Remember Nehemiah’s project of rebuilding the great wall in 52 days? Sometimes God gives us a gargantuan task, an impossible dream , in this case a rescue operation.

Our lack of training, education, money or resources would make us feel inadequate.  Being old, disabled  or  weak  would seem to be reasonable excuses not to go.

But look how 80 year old fugitive Moses,  Joseph the slave, and shepherd boy David have accomplished  great feats.  Let’s do what is humanly possible and God will do the impossible.

The Lord uses common people for HIs glory.  Now take note the kind of provision, equipping or assurance He’s saying in Judges  6:16  my presence will be with you”

See also passages such as;  I am with you always” Isa 40:10, Mt.28: 20,  

“I will never leave you nor forsake you  Hebrews 13:5

This promise sounds the  same in Genesis 39,  5x  – its says, “ the Lord was with Joseph”.  

Moses when told to lead Israel to the Promise Land  — “ If your presence is not with us, do not send us up from here”  Exodus 33:15

God’s way of empowering us to do the task is simply His Presence.  He will be with you,  “I will never leave you nor forsake you” Hebrews 13:5. 

Meaning—I will be with you,  I AM all you got,  …. I AM everything you NEED.   So be bold and courageous.  Courage is not the absence of fear but the presence of God.

Lesson 3:  Obedience results in success and victory.

With only 300 men, your odds in the battle would be one person versus one million.  That’s a scary thought.  Was Gideon afraid? Yes, indeed.  In fact, prior to the attack, God told Gideon that night if he’s afraid just sneak in at the enemy’s camp with his assistant  Pura, take a look and listen.

So when they arrived at the enemy’s camp, the divine assurance came as  they overheard someone who had just a bad dream.    One of them gave the interpretation that Gideon’s sword would attack and  wipe them all in  defeat .  That surely emboldened Gideon!  He therefore obeyed.  Then success and victory followed immediately!!  Amen.

Check out  Mark Batterson’s  book “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day”  (754 reviews to date)  for more edifying stories.

How to deal with conflict

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“Are you eat in?” the lady inquired after I ordered Big Mac, french fries and drinks at a McDonald in Australia.  A bit confused I replied:” Of course I’m 18, am more than 18 ..why ? What’s the problem?” The cashier’s puzzled face turned red while I frantically scoured my wallet for ID.  Glad that another customer came to rescue, clarified whether I would like to “take away” our food or to “eat in” the facility . “ Ahh okay,”

Two guys standing opposite each other are arguing about what they see on the floor. At one guy’s vantage point he insists the number 6 while the guy on the opposite side yelled its the number 9.!! They couldn’t agree with one another until a passerby mediated. “What do you see?” the quarreling guys asked in frustration. ” Gheez !!! You are both wrong, that’s a l letter “g” .

Hmmm.. so viewpoints are like lenses. These lenses form our environment, our education or life experiences. They determine the way we make decision.  If we can see through the lenses of truth, we’re solid.  I ‘d like to see  through the eyes of Jesus.  He is the Truth.  Anything we see different from the lenses of the Truth is a lie or a distortion.  Help me, dear Lord.

Unresolved conflict disconnects or separates us from our brethren.  When its resolved our bonding strengthens, our friendships grow stronger.

In Matthew 5 it says leave the worship altar  reconcile first with our brother or sister.  In another verse, we are told our prayers are hindered if we have unresolved conflict with our spouse.

Looks like we can’t worship God and ours prayers are hindered when we have unresolved conflict.  Sure I won’t be able to concentrate talking when a guy I offended suddenly appears.

Conflict happens, maybe you caused it, I caused it or the enemy caused it.  Yeah, maybe just blame it all to the enemy.  I believe conflict  draw us to be closer with God.   That’s why, I ask for  wisdom  resolving this, or else I want me or him to disappear.   But  Jesus way is to approach in private the one who hurts us and settle even if sometimes our pride gets in the way.   If ‘am the one causing the offense, I might find it easy to  apologize.   But its the other guys fault,  he should be the one to settle with me.

Oftentimes in the garbage dump I stepped upon  some pins or thumbtacks on  my gum boots.  Since its too small and difficult to find I’ll just ignore  the tickling pain when I walk.   Same thing when  I ignore or evade  conflict.   Its like pushing it under the rag thinking it doesn’t exist or it will go away while I carry the pain.

So we’re God’s ambassador representing the Kingdom.  We negotiate for peace because we’re given the ministry of reconciliation.   Therefore I should preserve peace and unity  in the Body of Christ.   However, the enemy’s role is to disunite, separate and disassociate us from the Body and… the Vine.   To be alienated to one another so the church becomes fragmented, weak and sick.   The Father of lies, deceiver, accuser of the brethren wants to cut us off from the fellowship … and even from the  source of life.