Read Judges 7
I have to wonder if Gideon was confused about exactly what he feared. Was he more afraid of moving without God’s guiding? Or was it just plain fear?
I tend to think it wasn’t necessarily the threat of defeat as much as Gideon was simply afraid to move without God at the helm. I wonder if Gideon feared that he was imagining God’s voice in this whole thing?
I guess it doesn’t really matter, when it comes down to it. I mean, He doubted. Right? And God proved His voice and His hand and His initiative to go. So. Gideon went.
Still, I love the sense of comaraderie that God affords Gideon through it all. Sure, Gideon, I’ll make the fleece wet. No problem, Gideon, I’ll keep the fleece dry.
So when He thinned the army out, I picture God sort of smiling to Himself. Just wait, Gideon, til you can see what I see. You’re worried about doing this in your own strength? I will make it abundantly clear that this victory is Mine and Mine alone!
First He had Gideon simply ask the men of Israel. Are you afraid? No problem! Go on home. God’s got this. So twelve thousand just up and left.
Still there were too many for God. He wanted to make it abundantly clear — to Gideon, to Israel, to all the nations around — that God and God alone was the Victor and the Conqueror of the land.
One more filter for the army of God. Something about lapping up water versus kneeling down to drink it. And the army was the perfect size. Three hundred men plus the God of all that is.
I love the way God deals with Gideon all the way through. “But if you are afraid to go down . . .” (v11). No disappointment or shaming. Just plain compassion for the fear He knew His man was fighting.
I believe it’s a lesson in God’s I-will-never-ever-leave-you promise. His mercy and compassion that meet us, even inside our fears.
This was God’s battle, His victory. But He wanted Gideon to be part of it. So He called him to lead. Then God gave him the courage, community and compassion He knew he would need.
The God you and I follow today? He’s the same One Gideon followed into battle. He still walks with us. Still tends to our needs, no shame for our fears or our doubts. He loves us passionately, and He wants us to know His mercy in such a way that it can only end in utter praise of Him and all that He has done.