I love how often we see God take the most unlikely candidate, and turn him into a hero. When we first meet Gideon, he is hiding in a winepress so that the Midianites wouldn’t catch him threshing wheat. Then God sits down with Gideon and calls him a “mighty warrior.” Aren’t you glad God looks at our potential instead of our present character? I am!
God goes on to tell Gideon he’d be the one to lead Israel into battle with Midian. He even performed a miracle right before Gideon’s eyes to prove to Gideon God was in this.
Now all of this didn’t automatically make Gideon brave. In fact, his first act of obedience was done at night so no one would see him. Then he called the fighting men of Israel to come together. But the man lived with cold feet.
“God, here’s a wool fleece. I’m going to leave this here overnight. If you are really going to save Israel through me, let the ground be dry in the morning, but let the fleece be wet.”
You know the story. The next morning the ground was dry, and Gideon was wringing water out of the fleece.
So Gideon went to war, confident that God was true to His word.
Umm… not quite.
With a sopping piece of wool Gideon then says, “Let’s try something else just to be sure. I’ll leave the fleece out one more night. This time, let the ground be wet with dew, but keep the fleece dry. Then I’ll believe you are going to be with me like You’ve said.”
And our patient God did just that.
The story doesn’t end there. Gideon and Israel enjoyed a victory over Midian in a dramatic, miraculous way. I hope you’ll read it for yourself.
God is challenging my faith today. Do I take God at His Word, or do I keep insisting He give me a sign? Gideon was weak. Gideon was a coward. And Gideon needed tangible proof over and over that God could be trusted.
Does that describe me? When I read the Bible, I’m reading God’s Word to me. When Scripture says, “I am with you always,” what it really says is, “Connie, I am always with you.” When it says God works things out for the good for those who love Him, God is saying, “I am working things out for your good, Connie.”
Warren Wiersbe said something that stopped me in my tracks:
“Putting out the fleece (asking God to do some special thing to verify His will) is evidence of unbelief and not of faith… Immature faith needs signs for reassurance; mature faith takes God at His Word and obeys.” (With The Word; Thomas Nelson Press; 1991; page 146)
Gideon became a hero. In fact, you’ll see his name among the examples of faith in Hebrews 11. What we read here in Joshua is the growing of a hero. He certainly didn’t start out that way.
Am I still at the starting line? Do I need signs and wonders in order to believe God? Do I find myself throwing out one fleece after another, expecting God to perform for me so that I know He’s there? God forbid. He deserves better than that.
May I, may we, take God at His Word. May we be reading what He wrote to us every day, allowing Him to speak, to direct, to reassure us, to scold us, through the pages of His love letter to us.
And may our trust in Him be so mature, that when He tells us to jump, we don’t even ask “How high?” May we jump with all our might.
The Lord impacted me back in 2013 with the story of Gideon. I wrote a post about this (which you can take a look at should you be interested at https://grainofwheatblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/06/my-bible-heroes-2-gideon/ ).
I like that you put, “And our patient God did just that,” regarding the fact that God DID answer Gideon’s prayers about wet and dry fleeces. However, I don’t particlularly feel that Gideon was a coward, although I know that many say such things. I rather saw, in the Judges 6-8 narative, that God was helping build up Gideon’s faith and removing his fears for an immense, life-threatening physical battle ahead of him. Just like David’s faith was built up as he was shepherding and then he was able to stand before a giant with a real relationship and strong knowing what God was going to do.
Thank you, Helen, for your thoughtful reply. There is so much for us to learn from the life of Gideon, and I appreciate you sharing your view. You are right. The Bible doesn’t say that Gideon was a coward. But from wherever Gideon was when he started, God did help build up his faith one layer at a time, removing his fears in preparation for what was ahead. (thank you for that insight) And I love that He continues to do that for us, too. May we all be as willing to allow God to prepare us for what is ahead. God bless you, and may He continue to make you a blessing to others.