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Bible Insights

God Talks to Gideon—and to Us

Discover More about Gideon

Another familiar character in the book of Judges is Gideon. There are three whole chapters devoted to him. He is a fearful man who is at first cautious of God’s call. But eventually he does fully obey what God says to do.

There are three initial things that God tells him, through his angel messenger:

  1. “The Lord is with you mighty warrior!” Gideon’s response is to change the subject.
  2. “Go in the strength that you have and save Israel.” To this, Gideon in effect says, “How? I am nobody!”
  3. “I will be with you.” At this point, Gideon asks for proof that the words are really from God. And when Gideon doubts the first confirmation that God provides, the doubting man asks for a second one.

We can learn two key lessons from this exchange.

God’s Perspective is the Right Perspective

First, God may see us differently then we see ourselves, and it’s unwise to question God’s perspective. He knows all things. We don’t.

We Must Do What We Can and Trust God with the Rest

The second insight is that we need to move forward to the extent that our abilities allow. That is, we must do our part and not expect God to do something for us that we can do ourselves.

Then God will be with us. He will make up for what we lack.

This is an important balance to maintain. One error is to not do anything, even what we can do, because of the enormity of the task, while the other extreme is to try to do it all ourselves without God’s help.

Be Like Gideon

Instead, we need to do what we can and trust God to do the rest—just like Gideon.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Judges 4-6, and today’s post is on Judges 6:12-16.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Do As I Do

Just before Gideon goes to battle, he tells his men to “watch me,” “follow my lead,” and “do exactly what I do.” His men did and God used their collective actions to throw the enemy into complete confusion. As a result, a great victory was won. Gideon’s actions were worthy of emulation.

From a spiritual perspective, Paul said the same thing. He says what you have seen me do, you should do, too.

Frankly, I’m not sure I would want anyone to do everything I did. Yes, I do believe that I have some worthy qualities, but certainly there are a few areas that are not worthy of emulation, at least not all the time.

You may be familiar with the saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Well, Gideon and Paul are bold enough to effectively say, “Do as I do.”

Would you be confident enough in your actions to tell someone to “Do everything you see me doing?”

[Judges 7:17, Philippians 4:9]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Gideon Doubts God

Ultimately, Gideon, the Judge, obeys God and realizes a great victory, but he first needs a lot of confirmation to deal with his doubts:

Gideon first asks for a sign that the angel had really spoken God’s words. God acquiesces; when the angel touches his staff to the food Gideon prepared, it miraculously ignites and is burnt up.

Gideon questions God’s promise of victory and gives God a test to perform. He places a fleece (a wooly mass) on the ground and asks that only the fleece have dew on it in the morning. God lovingly does what Gideon asks.

Gideon second-guesses his first test. He gives God another test, but desires the opposite outcome. God patiently complies and in the morning the ground has dew and the fleece is dry.

Although Gideon does not voice any more doubts, they still exist. So God offers a final confirmation. God tells Gideon to sneak up to the enemy camp, where Gideon overhears two soldiers talking about a dream one had about Gideon’s forthcoming victory.

Encouraged, Gideon goes forth with his 300 men—and God’s help— routs 135,000.

It is not wrong to have doubts—and God is generally patient with us when we do—but ultimately we need to obey and do what we are told—even when it doesn’t make sense.

[Judges 6:17&21, Judges 6:36-38, Judges 6:39-40, Judges 7:10&13-14, Judges 8:10-11]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.