Today, we continue our look into the life of Gideon. In Judges 6:13, Gideon says, “…now the LORD has forsaken us….” The truth is they weren’t in their situation because God had forsaken them, but because they had forsaken God. You can choose your sin but you can’t choose your consequences. You can’t live your life doing what is right in your own eyes and then blame God for the mess! The good news is God does not see us for what we are, but for what we can be if we cry out to Him.
In Judges 7:2, the Lord tells Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel claim glory for itself against Me….” It was 135,000 Midianites to 32,000 Israelites. Can’t you hear them questioning, “God, you think we have too many?” God sent the cowards home. Fear is not of God. God has not given us a spirit of fear. Are you afraid of failure, the unknown, or the future? Courage is not the absence of fear. It is following God in the face of fear.
In verses 4-6, God reduces the size of the army to 300. You may experience a reduction in your health, finances, or other areas of your life, but if you have God, when you are weak, He is strong! You don’t need a big army when you have a big God! Gideon’s faith grew as he obeyed God. You don’t have to have great faith for God to use you, but your faith should be growing.
The battle plan was simple: “Then he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet into every man’s hand, with empty pitchers, and torches inside the pitchers” (Judges 7:16). Something is missing…a sword! They blew the trumpets, broke the pitchers, and held the torches. Some explain the victory by saying the enemy thought every division had a trumpet, the vessel would hide the light of the torches until they got close, and the breaking of the vessels would sound like the clanging of armor. If so, God is the one who put the plan in Gideon’s mind. Don’t explain the miracle away!
Here is what it means for us today: The trumpet is symbolic of the Word of God, our offensive weapon against the enemy. The torch is the Holy Spirit. The vessel is you. With a trumpet in your hand, God was saying, “Get My Word.” With the torch inside, God was saying, “Be filled with My Spirit.” With the broken vessels, God was saying, “Let My light shine through you.” God uses broken people. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2 Cor. 4:5-7).
Although God used Gideon to defeat the Midianites, and even though he is listed in Hebrews 11 as a hero of the faith, Gideon did not finish well. Gideon had the Israelites bring gold earrings that he made into an ephod and set up in his city. Judges 8:27 says, “It became a snare to Gideon and to his house.” Gold became his god and a snare to his family. In the end, Israel forgot the Lord and Gideon.
What kind of legacy will you leave? So many who live faithfully for God for years, quit just before the finish line! Gideon ended up just like his father. How can we finish well? The answer is Jesus! Human heroes are just that…human! Only Jesus never fails. “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,25 To God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25).