Gideon – Reluctant Warrior
Gideon, whom the Angle of God called a Valiant Warrior, was reluctant to act on God’s calling. Once convinced that the Lord had chosen him to lead the Army in the valley of Jezreel, he obeyed his charge and the Lord delivered Israel from their oppressors.
The story begins in the 6th Chapter of the Book of Judges. The Israelites had taken up worship of Baal and were living sinful lives. They pushed God out of their lives for the false gods of the land. The Midianites came up and ruled over them for seven years. The Israelites lost all and withdrew to the mountains to live in caves and crags – and they called out to the Lord for salvation. The Lord sent a prophet to convict the Israelites of their apostasy, and call them into repentance.
Then the Lord sent his angle to Gideon, who was a poor farmer, the least of his kin. After giving a sure sign as requested by Gideon, the Lord commanded him to destroy his father’s altar to Baal and Ashterah. Gideon did so, and the Lord sent his Spirit upon Gideon to strengthen him.
A massive army (135,000) of the Midianites, along with the Amalekites, gathered in the valley of the Jezreel to wage war on Israel. Gideon gathered a large army (32,000) from the tribes to meet the Midianites, but he was still not confident in his ability. He called upon the Lord for two more signs before he accepted his charge. Finally, Gideon was ready, but the Lord ordered Gideon to reduce his assault force. First he discharged all those who feared the Midianites and 10,000 remained. Then the Lord selected by trail at a stream only 300 men for the assault force in order to show his strength and sovereignty.
Armed with horns, torches, and vases to hide the torches he sent Gideon to surround the Midianites in their camp at night. In order to embolden Gideon; he gave him yet another sign. He sent Gideon and Purah into the Midianite camp where they heard of a dream that Israel would prevail.
Gideon Chooses the Three Hundred
James J. J. Tissot (1836-1902)
As the Lord had instructed, Gideon leading his 300 men in three companies surrounded the camp. On Gideon’s command, they blew the horns, broke open the vases, and waved the torches shouting:
The Lord so confused and terrorized the Midianites that they panicked and slew one another in their fear and confusion, and those that were left fled the field. Gideon pursued and slew them, and rid the land of the oppressor.
FOR THE SWORD OF THE LORD AND OF GIDEON
Gideon, the Reluctant Warrior was indeed Valiant. The Israelites called him to rule over them, but he refused saying that the Lord would rule Israel. After his death, Israel again played the harlot and prostituted herself with false gods.
The Sword of the Lord