[reprinted from November 29, 2010]
Gideon: an â€˜ordinaryâ€™ kind of guy who gets a â€˜callâ€™ from God.
The Israelites did evil in the Lordâ€™s sight. So the Lord handed them over to the Midianites for seven years…So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to the L for help. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Judges 6:1, 6 (NLT)
In many translations, the word againÂ is used in verse 6. Â Again the Israelites cried out for help! In reading the Old Testament, it is easy for me to begin to roll my eyes and mutter, â€œHere we go again!â€. The Israelites played out that two-verse scenario over and over and over andâ€¦over. But so do I! â€œYou do evil, Jody?â€ you say? Sin is evil. When I make the choice to succumb to the temptation, I have chosen evil. I get myself in a fix and feel that distance from God and cry out for help. Here we go again!
Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, â€œMighty hero, the Lord is with you!â€
â€œSir,â€ Gideon replied, â€œif the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didnâ€™t they say, â€˜The Lord brought us up out of Egyptâ€™? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.â€
Then the Lord turned to him and said, â€œGo with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!â€
â€œBut Lord,â€ Gideon replied, â€œhow can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!â€
The Lord said to him, â€œI will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.â€
Gideon replied, â€œIf you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Judges 6:11-17 (NLT)
Yes, I have been in this scene and done that! First I wonder if God is with me, why did He allow this to happen? Then I wonder if it is really God at all! Especially if I â€˜hearâ€™ God asking me to do something that is unexpected or something I really do not want to do! â€œIs that reallyYou, Lord?!!â€
God then proceeds to prove that He is the I AM by performing the â€˜testsâ€™ that Gideon asks of Him: turning a fleece from dry to wet one night and wet to dry the next, with the ground around it producing the opposite! If this was â€˜reality TVâ€™ there would be a disclaimer not to try this at home!
So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. The Lord said to Gideon, â€œYou have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Judges 7:1-2 (NLT)
And so God takes His hand-picked commander from leading 32,000 men to 10,000 to 300. And Godâ€™s reasoning on this is very clear that no one else is going to get the credit for what happens except Him! I have often wondered why things happen in my life that are so overwhelming! My son didnâ€™t just get cancer. It was a cancer that had a 25% success rate the first time it occurs and decreased by 50% each time after that! God is the only One to get the credit for the success of the chemo or the surgery! Science says with those statistics any improvement is less than â€˜poorâ€™! God gets all the glory!
That is the story of how the people of Israel defeated Midian, which never recovered. Throughout the rest of Gideonâ€™s lifetimeâ€”about forty yearsâ€”there was peace in the land…
As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping the images of Baal, making Baal-berith their god. Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Judges 8:28, 33 (NLT)
Here we go again!
Lord, I Need You written & sung by Chris Tomlin