Gideon tapped the heads of wheat against the rim of the winepress. The pile inside looked like enough for about two ephahs.
He glanced over his shoulder. I hope the Midianites don’t find me here. They shouldn’t since grape harvest won’t occur for a few more months.
A minute later he looked around. He caught himself against the winepress when he found a man sitting under the terebinth tree.
The man smiled. “Greetings mighty warrior. The LORD is with you.”
Gideon stood and approached the man. “If the LORD is with us why are the Midianites destroying our crops?”
“I’m sending you to defeat them.”
Gideon looked around. “Who, me? I’m a nobody from one of the weakest tribes. What can I do?”
“Don’t worry. I will fight for you.”
“Wait here while I prepare You an offering.”
Gideon selected a choice goat for the most tender meat. While a flank roasted he baked some bread without yeast. He diced the meat into a basket and poured the broth into a pot. He carried the meal to his guest.
The man pointed to a rock next to him. “Put the food here.”
Gideon set the meat and bread on the rock and poured the broth over it.
The man touched the food with the end of his staff. Fire came from nowhere and consumed the food. The man disappeared.
Gideon fell to his knees. “I have seen God face to face.”
He heard the man’s voice. “Don’t worry. You will live. I want you to destroy your father’s altar to Baal. Take the wooden image next to it and sacrifice the second bull from the herd.”
Gideon waited until the men in town went to sleep. He selected ten servants to carry out God’s request.
Soon the Jezreel Valley was filled with the armies of Midian and Amalek.
Gideon felt a surge of courage fill him. He blew a trumpet and sent messengers out to assemble an army.
He paced in his tent while the men assembled over the next two days. A prayer exited his lips. “God, if You are going to use me to defeat this vast army then show me a sign. I’ll set a fleece out tonight. Put dew on the fleece, but not the grass.”
God did that to the extent of a bowl of water being wrung out of the fleece the following morning.
Gideon swallowed and sent up another prayer. “Tonight put dew on the ground, but not on this fleece.”
Gideon’s feet were drenched after he walked through the grass to reach the dry fleece.
He was confident when he saw how many men assembled for him.
God spoke to Gideon. “There are too many men now. They’ll claim victory from themselves when they win. Tell everyone who is afraid to return home.
About two-thirds of the men returned home.
Gideon heard God’s voice again. “There’s still too many. Take them to the river. I’ll sort them out there.”
He separated those who drank water from their hands from the majority who drank from the river.
“The three hundred are the ones who will win with Me.”
“If you need reassurance go to the camp with Purah. “
Gideon crept to the edge of the Midianite camp and listened to a conversation two men were having.
“I dreamed a barley loaf rolled down the hill and knocked over one of our tents.”
“That could only be the God of Gideon defeating us.”
Gideon felt a surge of confidence as he bowed his head before they returned to camp.
He gathered all his men around. “God has given us the victory. I want each of you to take a torch. Cover your torch with a pot in your left hand. Carry a trumpet in your right hand. On my mark smash your pot, blow your trumpet and yell, ‘The sword of the LORD and of Gideon.'”
When they had circled the Midianite camp the plan was carried out successfully.
I love how God used this cowardly man to carry out a great victory. But, then again, that’s God’s favorite way to operate.
Gideon admitted his weakness. God saw that as his greatest strength. I find great solace in that.
I find it interesting how God spoke (prayed) to Gideon five different ways in this narrative.
- Face to face under the terebinth tree. God showed Himself to His servant to begin this ordeal of choosing a leader to save His people.
- With only His voice. Once Gideon knew God’s voice there was no need for physical proximity.
- Through nature. The fleece test was requested by the weak man to gain assurance of victory.
- Through testing. As God whittled the army down from 32,000 to 300 Gideon’s resolve would be tested.
- Through the dream of an enemy soldier. God reached out to give His warrior one last assurance by sending him to the enemy camp to hear of a dream one of them had.
Some people wish God still spoke to us like He did in the Old Testament times. I don’t.
We have a much more efficient means of hearing from God.
- We have the Bible. God wrote the Bible, His Word, to us through several writers with the same message; God is powerful and wants a family relationship with us we can’t obtain on our own efforts.
- We have prayer. Our prayers are always heard as God’s children. Our heavenly Abba longs for our attention.
- We have the Holy Spirit. God’s Spirit was given to a select few in the Old Testament. After Jesus ascended to heaven God made His Spirit available to all of His children. And He won’t take it from us.
- We have a Savior. The Messiah was a future promise to them. Jesus is our sacrificial atonement to bring us to God now.
God may not call you to lead a great victory like Gideon.
Each small win you obtain over the enemy is great in God’s eyes.
I’ll see you later. Wade