Gideon, one of the twelve judges of Israel, was the son of Joash, the Abiezrite. Gideon lived in Ophrah, a village in the tribe of Manasseh. As we read Gideon’s story, we find inspiration about the fact that God can use any person in times of adversity. We can also see a glimpse of ourselves in the life of Gideon because we, like Gideon, sometimes are reluctant to accept the call of God to do what needs to be done through us.
From the time of Gideon’s calling, through the deliverance of the people of Israel from the hands of their enemies, and through the completion of the work God commissioned him to do, we meet a man who lacked confidence that he could be used by God, a man who doubted that he could become a mighty warrior in the hands of God.
Although Gideon struggled with some aspects of his call, he believed God’s promise that he would be with him. Confident that the Lord would fulfill his promise, Gideon obeyed the Lord and became the deliverer of Israel against the oppressive situation imposed upon the people by the heavy yoke of the Midianites and their allies.
There are several things that can be learned from the story of Gideon. First, Gideon was not a warrior and he was afraid of the Midianites. However, the Angel of the Lord spoke to him and called him “a mighty warrior.” Because a humble Israelite man was willing to trust God, he was endowed with the Spirit of God and became the mighty warrior who delivered Israel.
Second, the Lord promised Gideon that he would be with him in his effort to save Israel from its oppressors. The promise of God’s presence with Gideon was an affirmation that God was once again going to work through a weak vessel so that God’s work could be accomplished in the world. But before Gideon could become Israel’s deliverer, Gideon needed to learn to trust in God to provide what was necessary for him to achieve victory.
The story of Gideon shows the cycle of apostasy that plagues Israel throughout the period of the judges. This cycle of rebellion is reflected in the decision of the people to worship Baal, the Canaanite storm god, and Asherah, the Canaanite goddess of fertility. Because of their apostasy, “the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Midianites for seven years” (Judges 6:1). When the people of Israel cried for help, God chose Gideon to deliver Israel from the oppression imposed upon the people by the Midianites.
This series of studies on Gideon will be done in partnership with my pastor, Jeff Griffin, Senior Pastor of The Compass Church in Naperville, Illinois. The studies will begin with an introduction to the book of Judges followed by an introduction of Gideon and his ministry as a judge.
Then, I will write four studies based on four sermons Jeff will preach on Gideon. Each post on this series of studies will be based on the sermons Jeff will preach. Each post will include a video of the sermons Jeff preached in church. In a sense, the posts will serve as a historical background to the sermons Jeff will preach and his sermons will serve as an application of the posts to contemporary Christian life.
Jeff and I hope that the videos and the posts will help you to gain a better perspective of Gideon’s life. In addition, we hope that, when you are confronted with challenges in your life, you will learn from Gideon, a man who went against all odds, a man who was assigned the most impossible task, and yet, a man who succeeded and was victorious even when all odds were against him.
Claude F. Mariottini
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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POSTS ON GIDEON