I admit it. Gideon is my favorite judge because he had no idea why God would come to him with major instructions.

Here was young Gideon, minding his own business, threshing the wheat as quickly as possible–before the oppressing Midianites could get it. (The Midianites and others would camp in the croplands and ruin the yield just as it ripened.) Gideon was just popping along when “The angel of the Lord” appeared and gave Gideon the news–“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon must have thought, with his heart beating hard, “What warrior?”

Gideon was a faithful believer. He loved God, but he was also curious. “Pardon me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” The young man was certainly not sure that this call was not some vision brought on by fermented wheat! He was part of the weakest clan and he was the “least in my family.”

God, knowing that it was His wisdom and strength, not Gideon’s, that would win the day showed great patience with this loyal but doubtful youngster. Gideon did not doubt God, you see, he doubted himself.

After building an altar to God and some more discussion, Gideon set out on his task. Then Gideon again wondered if he was really doing what God wanted him to do, so he asked God to not cause the overnight dew to gather on a sheep’s fleece, “If you will save Israel by my hand.”  This is not a request for victory, but a question as to whether Gideon was really the guy to do the job. God did as Gideon asked. The young man was still too astounded to believe that God would really use him, and asked God to reverse the “fleece process” if you will allow that description. God did.

So Gideon was convinced that he was indeed chosen by God. Then God did something even more miraculous. Through a very logical process, He had Gideon whittle down his army from 32,000 to 300 men.

Why? Who would get the credit today if our nation was attacked and we repelled the enemy with 100,000 troops to the enemy’s 500 troops? We, of course, would take the credit for the victory. But, if God’s army won the battle by sending 300 against the enemies that “had settled in the valley, thick as locusts” who would be the obvious bringer of victory? God, and God alone.

God is a marvelous tactician. He divided the 300 into three groups of 100. In the middle of the night, they attacked, banging pots, yelling, and generally creating total confusion among their enemies. Under God’s leadership of the young and wondering judge, God had saved HIs people again.

The Bible indicates that Gideon did serve until his death, when the “Israelites did evil int he eyes of the Lord” again!

Sue Wilson