There are many great stories in the Book of Judges. In this book, we have the history of Israel after the death of Moses and Joshua and before the kings. Here we find the nation going through seven great sin cycles. They completely turn away from the Lord in sin. The Bible says every man did what was right in his own eyes. Sounds a lot like the world today, doesn’t it? But God, being ever faithful to fulfill His promises, always sends a deliverer and the nation returns to Him. One of these deliverers is a man named Gideon.
Now Gideon was a nobody. He wasn’t a warrior by trade. He wasn’t a spiritual leader. He was just a farmer. The Lord comes to Gideon while he is threshing wheat in a winepress. He is doing this in a winepress to keep it secret from the Midianites. The Midianites were destroying every crop they could find. God was using the Midianites as a tool of correction for His chosen nation, but now He was ready to deliver them from this oppression. God tells Gideon that He is going to deliver Israel. Unfortunately, Gideon is not a faithful man. I don’t mean he wasn’t following God, I mean he lived his life with overwhelming fear and doubt. Four times Gideon asks God to prove himself instead of Just following Him.
Judges 6:14–22 (NKJV) — 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.” 19 So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them. 20 The Angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. 21 Then the Angel of the LORD put out the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. And the Angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. 22 Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the LORD. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face.”
Gideon needed a sign before he was willing to do anything. God provided that sign, but it wasn’t good enough for Gideon.
Judges 6:36–38 (NKJV) — 36 So Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said— 37 look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early the next morning and squeezed the fleece together, he wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water.
Before Gideon would go to war, he wanted another sign from God. God provided that sign, but it still wasn’t good enough for Gideon.
Judges 6:39–40 (NKJV) — 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me, but let me speak just once more: Let me test, I pray, just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, but on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, but there was dew on all the ground.
Finally, after this sign Gideon does what the Lord says and takes the nation to battle against the Midianites. But, his faith fails him again. God tells Gideon that He is going to destroy the whole army of the Midianites, but Gideon needs another sign.
Judges 7:9–15 (NKJV) — 9 It happened on the same night that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, 11 and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude. 13 And when Gideon had come, there was a man telling a dream to his companion. He said, “I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed.” 14 Then his companion answered and said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hand God has delivered Midian and the whole camp.” 15 And so it was, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, that he worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel, and said, “Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand.”
Finally, after this fourth sign, Gideon believes God, overcomes his fear, and attacks the Midianites. Gideon then gets to see God give a great victory.
Do you live like this? I hear people all the time say they are waiting for a sign. “I put a fleece out before the Lord” they say. Put a fleece out? Gideon was showing total unbelief when he put a fleece out. This is a sure sign of your unbelief. Believe God and get up and go. The great thing for us, though, is that God has sent a deliverer to us. This is a great and final deliverer. His name is Jesus Christ. Unlike Gideon, Jesus is perfectly faithful.
Let us look to Jesus and follow him in faithfulness, not fear and doubt.
This Week’s Reading Plan:
- Day 1 – Ruth 1-4
- Day 2 – 1 Samuel 1-3
- Day 3 – 1 Samuel 4-8
- Day 4 – 1 Samuel 9-12
- Day 5 – 1 Samuel 13-14
- Day 6 – 1 Samuel 15-17
- Day 7 – 1 Samuel 18-20
In His Service, Scott