And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. — Judges 6:15
Gideon felt very insignificant. The least from a poor family, Gideon saw himself as a frightened man hiding from the enemy. However, God looked on his heart and saw a “mighty man of valor,” one He could use to deliver His people from their enemies.
In circumstances not unlike those of Gideon, there was a boy growing up in a poor family on a farm in Tennessee. His life was simple — hard work was the main activity, and he labored in the fields from sunrise to sundown. He joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, and found himself living in a camp in Merrill, Oregon. A group of people from the Apostolic Faith Church in Klamath Falls went to the CCC camp and held church services in the main hall. In July of 1938, they invited some of the young men to go with them to a camp meeting-convention in Portland, Oregon. This young man accepted their offer to go, but he was only able to be there one day. At the conclusion of both the morning and afternoon services, he prayed earnestly for an experience of salvation, but it seemed to be of no avail. With the evening service being his final meeting, he felt it was his last chance to find forgiveness from the Lord. In desperation, he finally grasped the needed faith. God accepted his prayer of repentance, and God’s Spirit witnessed to his spirit that he was truly born again.
This young man, Loyce Carver, thought that he would never be in Portland again, and certainly no one there that night ever imagined what the future held for him. But God took the young man from Tennessee and molded him into a leader. Several years later, although he had no confidence in his own ability, and the very thought of such an appointment made him physically ill, by God’s grace he accepted the position of General Overseer of the Apostolic Faith Church. He served God faithfully in that role for many years, and he was a stalwart veteran in the Gospel until the Lord took him to his heavenly reward.
God has a wonderful plan for the life of each of His children. Although we may feel weak and insignificant, He can give us the power and strength to fulfill His will. When we yield ourselves completely to God, we do not know just where He will lead us or how He will use us. However, we can be sure that His plans are perfect and that following Him will bring true joy and abundant blessing.
Because of their disobedience, God caused Israel to fall into the hand of the Midianites. The Midianites were descendants of Abraham and his second wife, Keturah. They were often in conflict with Israel. In our text today, every time the Children of Israel were ready to harvest their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites, and other desert tribes would come and destroy their food. This had been going on for seven years, and the Israelites were desperate. God heard their cries, and He sent an angel to Gideon while he was secretly threshing wheat to hide it from the Midianites.
God told Gideon He had chosen him to deliver Israel, even though Gideon felt he was totally inadequate for the job. Gideon had heard about the miracles that God had performed for the Children of Israel, but he had not personally witnessed any during his lifetime. God was willing to work with Gideon to build his faith and confidence so that he could move forward and accomplish the task God had chosen for him. Gideon needed a sign for reassurance, so the angel patiently waited while Gideon prepared a sacrifice of unleavened cakes and meat. After the angel consumed the sacrifice with fire, Gideon was reassured that God would be with him.
Because Baal was considered the god of fruitfulness who controlled the harvest and food was so scarce, Gideon had to face the wrath of his own people when God told him to tear down the altar of Baal. Any attack on a Canaanite god was considered an attack on the community itself; it would bring serious consequences. Gideon destroyed the altar and grove at night because he feared retribution from the people. Yet, God showed Gideon how He would take care of him by causing his father, Joash, to stand up for him, and to convince the people to let Baal defend himself.
According to verse 33, the armies of Midian and Amalek gathered together in the valley of Jezreel. Because of the valley’s immense resources, many trade routes passed through that area. It was a common site for many battles during that time. Gideon sent messengers throughout Israel to gather his army together to face the enemy.
We often hear the phrase, “to put out a fleece,” as a method of determining God’s will. However, the fleece that Gideon put out was not to determine the will of God, but rather to reaffirm what God had already asked him to do.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. Conditions during the period of the judges
B. The judges of the period
a. Israel’s sin (6:1)
b. Israel’s servitude (6:2-6)
c. Israel’s deliverance
(1) The promise of deliverance (6:7-10)
(2) The summons of the deliverer (6:11-32)
(a) The angelic visit (6:11-18)
(b) The worship by Gideon (6:19-24)
(c) The destruction of the pagan altars (6:25-32)
(3) The conflict for deliverance
(a) The army gathered (6:33-35)
(b) The assurance of victory (6:36-40)
Like Gideon, we may face a time when God asks us to do something that we feel we are totally inadequate to accomplish. Just as the Lord gave Gideon the reassurance and help he needed to defeat the enemy, God will also give us whatever we need to accomplish His will in our lives.