If you are afraid…..(Judges 7:10)
Gideon had a problem, much like me- he lived in fear.
Normally, when we tell the story of Gideon we think of how brave he must have been to take only 300 men to defeat vast Midianite army which the Bible says was as great as the sand on the seashore.
However, a closer look at this historical account will show a man much different than we’d expect from a quick glance at the story. Gideon’s constant questioning and distrust of God’s call causes us to miss out on understanding the grace of God for sinners like you and me. Who are afraid to follow God into the places where He is leading us.
God is immensely patient with Gideon. He says to Him, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites,”(Jdg 6:16)… Gideon’s immediate response is not to trust God, but to question and test Him, asking for a sign to see if it is actually God saying these things. He does this not just once, but three times.
God tells Gideon to tear down an altar to Baal and Asherah who were false gods the Israelites worshipped. The scriptures say that Gideon went at night with 10 of his men to tear down the altar, “because he was afraid of his family and the townspeople.”(Jdg 6:27)
I can’t help but think how much I too am like Gideon, not quick to follow when God calls, often being motivated by fear. Having a hard time giving it up to place my trust in God’s hands to raise up a victory for His namesake through my obedience.
Right before Gideon goes into battle, God takes his army of 20,000 men and whittles it down to a measly 300. Then God says to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah.”(Jdg 7:9–10)
Guess what Gideon does? Yep, goes down to the camp with his servant Purah, because he didn’t trust what God said he would do. It is there that Gideon overhears two men talking about a dream one of them has and the interpreter of the dream tells the other man that his dream means Gideon’s army will defeat the Midianites.
God was extremely patient with Gideon. He knew that Gideon was a man who was very much afraid. God does not dismiss him, punish him and choose someone else, He gives Gideon grace.
I’m so thankful God does not dismiss people who are afraid but, instead, gives them grace. I’m so glad that God still chooses to use people of little value in the eyes of the world to accomplish great things for His namesake. It wasn’t really that Gideon was much of anything. In fact, by many accounts we can say that Gideon was a coward, constantly questioning God, not responding with immediate obedience and always needing a sign. However, God took a coward, walked with Him in each step and moment of fear and gave him grace.
God never gave up on Gideon and for that reason, God was able to display HIs glory through Gideon. Sometimes I think God chooses an individual, like Gideon, not because they’re strong and brave, but because they’re afraid. He did it with Moses too. God often calls us to do the things that press our buttons in the most challenging ways. There’s a deeper place of faith God is leading us to if we would be willing to walk with Him in obedience away from fear, in Jesus name.
Lord, I too am afraid, but when I afraid, I long to put my trust in you. I often question your call. I am slow to enter in because I am afraid. Father, forgive me. I have not walked in your grace. I have often walked in fear because I do not trust you as I should. Thank you that you still take people like me, walk with them in their fear and give them grace upon grace. Lord today, I long to trust you, in Jesus name, Amen.