“But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” (Judges 6:13)
A few things are wrong with Gideon’s perceptions:
Gideon Forgot About Israel’s Sin
Gideon blamed God for the oppression and failed to recognize Israel’s sin and idolatry. Israel had not turned away from the pagan idols.
God loves His people, even in sin. He is also a holy judge. Because of His love for the guilty, He is merciful and desires to forgive. He is just and merciful. He provided an amazing answer to the problem of sin through Jesus’ atoning blood and the work of the Holy Spirit; our lives can be cleansed from sin and be transformed to reflect His love.
Gideon’s people were crying out to the Lord for help (Judges 6:7), but gave no evidence of real repentance. Constant self-examination of sin and its removal, coupled with trusting God grows our relationship with Him.
Gideon Trusted in Formulas Instead of God
Gideon believed in the “Law of Linearity.” If you do A, B will logically follow. If you want to win a battle, have a mighty leader and a bigger and stronger army than the enemy.
Gideon questioned God’s wisdom in choosing him to be the nation’s deliverer. He said, “My clan is the weakest . . . and I am the least.”
God chooses the “weak things of this world” to accomplish great things for His glory (1 Cor. 1:26–29). Gideon wasn’t a man of strong faith or courage. His family worshiped Baal (Jdg. 6:25–32). Yes, the angel said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior“–he was a might warrior with the Lord.
Do you trust in formulas?
Do you trust in formulas? You might not think you trust in formulas but do these sound familiar?
- If you are a submissive wife, your husband will love you.
- If you bring your children up in the Lord, your family will be happy.
- If you tithe, you’ll be financially secure.
- If you plant corn, you will reap corn.
Do the formulas work? If you plant corn, will you grow corn? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe there will be a drought or flood and the crops will fail.
Doing A does not always produce B. Whenever God calls us to a task that we think is beyond us, we must be careful to look to God and not to ourselves. “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
We all come to God in need of merciful help and power. He is waiting for us to stop relying on formulas and run to Him. He has called and commissioned us; all we have to do is obey Him by faith, and He will do the rest.
Gideon Sought the Blessing Not the Blesser
Gideon was seeking the blessing not the Blesser. He sought the victory of God without the responsibility of the relationship. We think that we can contain God within a box and that we can coerce Him into blessing us.
If someone marries a spouse for money and times are hard, the marriage will fail (seeking the blessings). If the relationship is based on love and times are hard the love will grow (seeking relationship with the Blesser).
God wants us to seek Him. If we remove sin in order to receive blessings we are placing blessing above the Blesser—which is a form of idolatry!
Go In the Strength
The lessons of Gideon are many and rich. Judges 6 ends with the story of Gideon testing God two times with the fleece. In Judges 7 God tests Gideon to see if he will trust Him to go into battle with the Midianites. I hope you have time to read all of Judges 6 & 7.
There is so much imagery intended to remind us of God’s faithfulness in the past and future in Judges 6 and 7: the fleece, the water (dew), tearing down the altars, a meal, unleavened bread, a rock, a staff, fire, a threshing floor, a wine press, sacrifices, a dream, and so much more!
It is time for me to teach my children so I’ll close for now. Go in the strength you have ((Judges 6:14)
My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB)