Updated: Oct 6, 2021
19th Sunday after Pentecost | Read Judges 7: 14-22
First was Othniel, the second was Ehud, third was Shamgar, then there was the Prophet and Judge Deborah, and today is Gideon. One of the most well-known and essential leaders in the Book of Judges, there are more verses dedicated to him than any other judge. Interestingly, while he's listed among the judges, the Bible never explicitly calls him a judge or states that he "saved Israel," as we see with most other judges.
In our lesson for the day, we are reminded that Israel had once again embraced the idolatry of their neighbors, and God allowed the Midianites to rule the people of God for seven years. (Judges 6:5) because of this, people like Gideon believed the suggestion that God had abandoned them, but this is untrue. Instead, a more significant reality is that God had allowed the consequences of Israel's actions to catch up to them. Yet, God has sent a messenger to remind people of what God had done for them and what God was willing to continue to do if people saw their wicked behavior. God once again was going to raise a leader to guide the people of God. The messenger told Gideon that God was going to give the people of God victory was again.
However, Gideon has a lot of self-doubts; unlike "Barak," Gideon believed that he was not the appropriate person. (Judges 6:15) "My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe... and I am the least in my entire family." --- So God entered into a journey of accepting Gideon's testing for the sake of building Gideon from the inside out.
Gideon is never explicitly called a Judge or states that Gideon "Saved Israel," as we see with most other judges... However, Gideon gets it at the end after much self-doubt. Gideon becomes a great leader who doesn't want to make fame or power for himself but guides the people of God for the Glory of God (Judges 8:23)
That's the beginning and the end of Gideon, but that is not the whole story. We have to pay attention to the in-between. Gideon tested the Lord, and the Lord was happy to affirm Gideon. God made Gideon successful because Gideon kept his eyes on God, and we can be as successful as Gideon despite our self-doubts if we keep our eyes on God.
In the end, don't be afraid to test the relationship that you have with God, but do it for the sake of others, for the befit of others as you lead your people to a right relationship with God. However, be careful to test the Lord for self-gain or power.