Gideon said to Him, “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” 14 Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
15 So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the Lord said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.” 17 Then he said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. 18 Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You.”And He said, “I will wait until you come back.”
Gideon didn’t see himself as anyone great, but as the least of men (Judg. 6:15). God, however, saw him as a great warrior (Judg. 6:12). Therefore, when God told him that he was a valiant warrior it wasn’t flattery. He was telling him who he really was and what he was called to do.
Now, as it happened, when God called Gideon to deliver Israel from the oppression of their enemies, Midian and Ammon, Gideon responded with doubtful but honest prayer. His prayers were very much like the prayers of Moses. He started off by asking God some very honest questions. He asked…
(1) “If the Lord is with us why are we under such oppression? Why hasn’t He delivered us” (my own version)?
(2) “How can I deliver the people? I am so young and with very little influence over the people.”
(3) Wanting to believe and obey God, he asked the angel (the Angel of the LORD, vv. 11-12) to show him some proof that he was really God. He said to him, “Show me a sign that it is You who talk with me.” And in verse 21 we see that He indeed showed him a sign. He put out the end of His staff and touched the meat and the bread that Gideon had prepared for Him, and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed it; then He vanished.
This first sign of God no doubt encouraged Gideon and gave him the strength to believe and obey God. Hence, when God told him to pull down the altar of Baal and the Asherah, he immediately went and did it (Judg. 6:25-27). And when the Midianites and the Amorites assembled themselves against the sons of Israel he determined that he was going to deliver them as God had commissioned him (Judg. 6:35).
Couldn’t help but smile when I read this. First Gideon complains that God has abandoned them, and then when God speaks to him and says He’s going to save them, Gideon whinges that he doesn’t want to and it’s all too hard. How quickly he forgot the miracles of the past that he had only just spoken of, and how much we are like him!
Yes, it seemed it was hard for Gideon to get going, to believe. But with God’s help and encouragement, in the end Gideon did well and turned out to be a great warrior just like God told him he was.
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