His name means: "Hewer, Slasher, Hacker"
His work: A farmer called to bring Israel back to the Lord (a task in which he partially succeeded) and to deliver God's people from their Midianite oppressors.
His character: A fearful man, living in a time when Israel had plenty to fear, Gideon questioned the Lord, demanding signs that would reassure him of God's faithfulness. Even though he was a reluctant warrior, he won a brilliant military victory and became one of Israel's greatest judges.
His triumph: That God's vision for his life turned out to be far greater than his own.
Key Scriptures: Judges 6-8
A Look at the Man
Gideon's story reminds us of the story of another man, centuries earlier, who also felt inadequate for the role God assigned him. His name was Moses, a man who had been hiding out just as Gideon had when God called him. Both Gideon and Moses made excuses, plausible-sounding ones to us though not to God. To both men, God simply said, "I am sending you."
When Gideon pleaded that his clan was the weakest in Israel and he the least of his family, he was unwittingly expressing his qualifications for the job. God wasn't looking for a born leader, a man who would be great in the eyes of his own people. He wasn't searching for a self-reliant man who would take credit for every victory. He needed someone whose weakness he could use, a man whose apparent unsuitability would eventually convince his people that their God was still with them, still powerful, still loving.
It's interesting that God called Gideon a mighty warrior precisely at the moment when such a description was hardest to believe. How could Gideon comprehend it when his own idea of himself was so contrary to God's idea? Because of the Lord's remarkable patience, Gideon was eventually able to overcome his doubts and become the man God intended him to be. By believing in God, he lived out his life, not as a timid man, but as a warrior who had won a brilliant victory.
Many of us are like Moses and Gideon were at the moment God first called them. We are hiding out, living our own lives, reluctant to alter the status quo, unable to believe we are capable of any kind of greatness. But God describes his plan for our lives, not in our terms, but in his. And that's how it should be because he's the only one who knows who we really are and what his power can do within us. If we want to experience God shaping our lives and using us—in our families, our churches, and our communities—we will have to set aside our own vision for ourselves in order to embrace his. Anyone who does that will one day look back, not with regret, but with gratitude, amazed at the great things God has done in a life yielded to him.
Reflect On: Judges 6:36–40
Praise God: For his patience.
Offer Thanks: For the guidance God gives.
Confess: Any doubts you may have about God's desire to guide you.
Ask God: To help you use "the strength you have" as you seek to do his will.
Today's reading is a brief excerpt from Men of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Men in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Robert Wolgemuth (Zondervan). © 2010 by Ann Spangler. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Enjoy the complete book by purchasing your own copy at the Bible Gateway Store. The book's title must be included when sharing the above content on social media.
Gideon's story reminds us of the story of another man, centuries earlier, who also felt inadequate for the role God assigned him.