Judges 6; 7; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 546–554
God can use me when I trust Him.
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Have you ever been confused or afraid and not sure what to do? When Gideon learned to trust God rather than be afraid, exciting things began to happen.
Forty years after Deborah and Barak defeated Sisera, Israel forgot God and began worshiping idols again. Because the Israelites left God’s protection, for seven years Midianites and Amalekites caused problems for the Israelites. They stole their food and destroyed their homes. Many of the Israelites lived in caves just to survive.
God looked around for a leader—someone who would trust Him. He found Gideon.
Gideon was hiding from the Midianites while he was grinding wheat. Suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared and said: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Gideon was startled. He was no mighty warrior. His family was the smallest in the tribe of Manasseh. He certainly was not feeling very brave.
“I will be with you,” God told Gideon. “We will destroy the enemy together.”
Gideon was not sure. He asked the angel to wait while he made a meal for the angel. He put the meal on a rock, and almost immediately it was burned up by fire.
Gideon asked God for two more signs. He wanted to be certain that God was with him. He held a fleece in his hands and spoke quietly. “If you are going to help Israel defeat Midian, let this fleece be wet tomorrow morning and the ground under it be dry.”
The next morning it was just as Gideon had asked. No dew had touched the ground, but the fleece was soaked.
Gideon tested God again. “This time let the fleece be dry and the ground wet,” he asked. The next morning his request was granted.
Gideon called an army to fight Midian, and 32,000 men joined him. Now God tested Gideon.
“There are too many men,” God said. “Send some home.”
Gideon knew that the Midianites and Amalekites had a huge army. But he obeyed God and sent 22,000 men who were afraid home (Judges 7:3).
God tested Gideon again. “Take your men to the river to drink. Look for the ones who drink standing up. Send all the rest home.”
Only 300 men passed the second test. God finally had a small enough army.
That night, Gideon divided his army into three companies. Armed only with clay jars, trumpets, and torches, they hid on three sides of the Midianite camp. All at once they blew their trumpets, smashed their jars, lit their torches, and shouted, “For the Lord and for Gideon!”
God did the rest. Awakened by the shouting, the Midianites and Amalekites rushed from their tents and began to fight each other! They were confused. Many ran away. And as they ran, Gideon’s soldiers chased them. The Midianites and Amalekites no longer bothered the Israelites. The Israelites could live with no fear because they chose to stay with God.
God wants to help us with our most difficult problems. It is easy for Him to destroy our fears. It will be easy for us to trust Him when we remember all that He can do and all that He is willing to do for us.
God won the victory for the Israelites. God will win the victory for you, too.