1 Cor 1:27-29 God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
God loves to do the Gideon. Sounds like a dance I know but in actual fact, it’s not. It is something that He has done throughout human history and will continue to do until the very day that He returns to sort this whole mess out! ‘The Gideon’ is where God takes weak, humble, sometimes fearful people and uses them to do wonderful things. He loves doing it! And the story of Gideon has been repeated (in each persons own way) through the lives of millions throughout history.
This Bible study
is from the book of Judges chapter 6,
where we are introduced to our hero Gideon, and learn a little about this man that
God chose to deliver
6:1-5 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven
years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites. Because the power of
Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in
mountain clefts, caves and strongholds. Whenever the Israelites planted their
crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the
country. They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to
How low can you go! The NASB says ‘so
Let’s get to the source of the problem!
6:6-10 When the Israelites cried to the LORD because of Midian, he sent them a
prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of
Why ‘strife’ if the Lord is with us?
6:11-13 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the
Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat
in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is
with you, mighty warrior.” “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us,
why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers
told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of
After the prophet had convicted
But he asks a good question – ‘If the Lord
Attention all weaklings - God may choose you!
-16 The LORD turned to him and
said, “Go in the strength you have and save
The first thing to notice in the passage
above is that the Lord doesn’t answer Gideon’s question about why these things
have happened. Maybe because it was obvious in
Now Gideon doesn’t exactly feel like the
‘valiant warrior’ that the Lord calls him. And as for him delivering
One God plus one weakling is always a majority in any fight. ‘I will be with you’ God tells Gideon, and that is all that we should ever need to know. (And it is what we should remind ourselves with!) Thankfully, this was enough for Gideon to know and his focus on his own inadequacies was not so deep rooted that it stopped him being obedient. But he certainly wanted this one thing confirmed (quite a few times actually!)
The request for a sign…
Judges -24 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me... The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Gideon asked for a sign that it really was God that was sending him. Probably fair enough too if you put yourself in his shoes… he was being asked to fight against and defeat the entire Midian army! You certainly would want to be sure wouldn’t you? Gideon will ask again for a sign before the chapter is out, and again God will graciously respond. We always need to remember that Gideon is not some extraordinary man. He was an ordinary man from an ordinary family in an ordinary tribe. Quite like you and me actually. He was weak enough to cause God to chose him, and obedient enough to follow God’s call even amidst doubt and uncertainty. With the divine fire of acceptance falling upon Gideon’s offering, it suddenly dawns upon Gideon that he is speaking, face to face, with God! The appearing of the angel of the Lord is not just any old angel but is the pre-incarnate ‘goings forth’ of the Lord Jesus Himself! The angel however tells Gideon that he can be at peace and should not fear. And God would say the same thing to you today if you have faith in Jesus and take the time to ask! (And listen of course…)
Judges -27 That same night the LORD said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height… So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.
Before saving the entire nation from the
clutches of the enemy (it’s starting to sound like a superhero comic!) God has
one small priority for young weak Gideon… put your family’s house in order!
Give that Baal the chop and establish the Lord God of
-40 Gideon said to God, “If you will save
Now lots have been said about this fleece in the past. In fact, think of Gideon and for a lot of people this is all they know! Bit sad really. If you are interested in whether we should ‘put out a fleece’ to God, then check the footnote. The only real thing I want to add is that it again highlights Gideon’s uncertainty and God’s gracious response in confirming what was being asked of Gideon. God is again kind and will meet us to in our weakness if it is for the purpose of being obedient.
This study is just the beginning… an introduction into who God loves to use. And that is often people that others may look down on as not being overly useful! God has committed a simple message to simple people so that others may come to know Him. And He will often use the ‘strife’ of Midian to bring people to the place of weakness where they will totally rely on Him and His grace. This is what we shall see in the second part of this study where Gideon, fresh from squeezing his fleece out, will have to come against the entire Midian army! Good luck Gideon!
|Bible Studies in the Book of Judges Series|
 This is a useful picture and a timely reminder for our lives if we are trying to plant seeds and be fruitful without having God in His rightful place in our lives. We may put in the effort, prepare the ground, plant the seeds etc, but it won’t come to anything without God. The enemy can snatch and destroy the produce! Abide in the vine, however, as Jesus told us, and you will bear much fruit.
 Bits and
bobs about Midian – Firstly the Midianites are descendants of Midian (it is
probably about now you are starting to wonder why you bothered reading this
footnote!) who was one of Abraham’s sons. After Sarah died, Abraham took
another wife, Keturah, and she bore Midian amongst
others. (Gen 25:2) It was the Midianites that took Joseph as a slave down into
 The following footnote comes with a warning – Do not try this at
Unfortunately, sometimes we can be dumber than sparrows when it comes to avoiding temptation and its resulting trouble. Learn this simple lesson from nature. I read recently that if you tear down a sparrows nest it will rebuild it in the same place (poor little sparrow!). Tear it down again and it will rebuild it in the same place again. Tear it down a third time and it will rebuild it but in a higher location! May have a wee-sparrow pea brain but at least it is smart enough to not keep putting itself in the place of danger! Christians could learn from this!
 As much as possible, try not to be one of those people who blames every difficulty on sin or the devil! Job was a righteous man yet his ‘friend’ Eliphaz said that it is only the wicked that perish and that you reap what you sow blah blah. (Job 4:4-9) Sounds sensible but its not! Job had another ‘good friend’ in Bildad. Bildad was really ‘wise’ as well saying that Job’s trouble was due to his and his children’s sins. (Job 8:4-6). As the saying goes, with friends like this, who needs enemies? No wonder Job pleaded for some kindness from them in the midst of his huge trial (Job -15). Jesus said that ‘in this world you will have trouble.’ It is a promise, so don’t keep thinking that it is always the enemy or sin in someone’s life that causes it. More often than not, it is so the glory of God can be revealed. (John 9:1-4)
 Job and his good, and not so good, buddies spend over 30 chapters discussing where Job’s problems have come from. Finally in chapter 38 God intervenes (probably because of all the stupid conclusions Job’s friends came to) and speaks to Job. But never does He answer why the trouble occurred and why He let it happen. These things we often have to leave to the wisdom of God. When God does speak, He poses over 70 questions to Job which shows God’s divine control over all of creation, and highlights Job’s ignorance! He is in control even though we may not understand.
 I’m sure
you can remember how many fighting men were in the tribe of Manasseh when
once asked Hudson Taylor, the pioneer missionary to
says a good thing about this when he says ‘How common it is to find those who
have done with boasting and thinking they are great, to now be preoccupied by
their littleness. But little ‘I’ is as great a hindrance as great ‘I’. It looks
very humble to depreciate one’s self, to keep in the background, but there is
often a very subtle pride that wears this garb of humility. It is not self,
good or bad, that is to be before us; weak or strong ‘I’ are to be alike
refused, that God alone may have the glory.
 I have
spoken about this before so I won’t spend ages on it. Before being born as a
 I quite like what the ‘Believers Bible Commentary’ says about it – ‘Gideon’s fleece is often misunderstood by Christians. There are two things about this incident that we should keep in mind: Gideon was not looking for guidance but for confirmation. God had already told Gideon what to do. Secondly, Gideon had asked for a supernatural sign, not a natural one. Today people use things as a ‘fleece’ that could happen naturally. This, too, is a wrong way to use the story. What we see here is God condescending to a man of weak faith to assure him of victory. God can, and does, give such assurances today in answer to prayer.’
is also a prophetic significance to these signs (for those who are interested.)
The fleece is representative of God’s sheep (which at the time was the nation