Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 19, 1970

Gideon — II.

Lowell Blasingame

In a previous article we discussed some characteristics of Gideon that were instrumental in his being listed among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. He was the fifth of the judges raised to deliver Israel from oppressors. We discussed Gideon as a man called to perform a service for the Lord and as one who sought assurance from the Lord before acting.

Gideon also was a man of faith. Two splendid examples illustrate this. The first involves the selection of his army. The enemy filled the valley like grasshoppers for multitude, 135,000 men, and had camels without number (Jud. 7:12; 8:10). At the call of Gideon, 32,000 Israelites responded but the Lord said that the number was too great and Israel would vaunt herself in her own strength. All the fearful and afraid were told to return and 22,000 left. The Lord said the number was still too great and gave a water test which separated the men into two groups, 300 in one and the remainder in the other. God told Gideon to take the 300 for his army. The second illustration of his great faith is seen in the battle stratagem given by the Lord. He told Gideon to divide the men into three companies, give each an empty pitcher, a torch and a trumpet.

Had Gideon been inclined to follow human reason he could have found many reasons for balking at what the Lord commanded. The numerical odds were too great, 135,000 to 300, the method of selecting his army was ridiculous and the stratagem for the battle was unheard of in the annals of military history. But Gideon did not balk, he was a man acting by faith not human reason. Today we need men of faith who will act as God commands though they may not comprehend the wisdom of His ways. It is only by doing this that victory will be ours.

Gideon was a man of courage. It took courage to face an enemy when he was outnumbered 440 to 1. It required courage to follow the Lord's stratagem against the enemy. Another example of his courage is seen shortly after his being called by the Lord. God told him to go and tear down the altar of Baal which his father had, to cut down the grove that was by it, to build an altar from the wood of the trees which he had cut down and to take a bullock that his father had and offer it upon the altar which he had built. Adam Clarke is of the opinion that this bullock was one being retained by worshippers of Baal to be offered in sacrifice to him. One can easily see what a blow against idolatry, a cause for Israel's oppression, this would be. He can also see what courage it took for a man to act against the religion of his father and the influential men of the city.

Many today do not have the courage to act upon what the Lord commands because it involves their going contrary to the religion of parents and influential persons in the community. Gideon had it and we need men today who have it.

Gideon was a man who gave honor and glory to God instead of seeking his own interests and advancement. He built an altar to God in the place where his offering to the angel was consumed by fire (Jud. 6:24). When he heard the dream of the Midianite soldier and its interpretation, he worshipped the Lord (Jud. 7:13-15). And after the victory over the Midianites when the men of Israel came and asked that he and his son rule over them his response was, "I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the Lord shall rule over you," (Jud. 8:22-23). Gideon sought no personal honor or gain in what had been done. He worshipped the God of Israel and wanted Him to be honored. There is a shortage of men today who seek the glory and honor of God above their own.

Truly Gideon belongs among the heroes of faith. We may stand with too if we will cultivate the same characteristics in our lives.

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