Tag Archive: Old Testament


Chapter 8: Judge Gideon

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

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Deborah is one of the most interesting if the judges because her presence and her leadership of the men of Israel confounds many males in churches today. Yep, she was a woman; she was chosen by God; she was even the Commander in Chief of a general of God’s army.

The Bible doesn’t explain how God called her. It just says that God was allowing an enemy of Israel to push the nation hard because they had again turned from God to idols. The Bible says of the time, “Now Deborah, a prophet, … was leading Israel at that time.” The Bible adds that she held court and settled disputes among the Israelites.

When the time came for rescue, God directed Deborah. She was instructed to tell Israeli general, Barak, to take the army to a place named by God, where God would deliver the enemy into his hand. It is obvious that Barak did not receive the message from God personally, because his reply to Deborah was, “If you go with me, I will go; but if you don’t go with me, I won’t go.”  So, Deborah, General Barak, and ten thousand Israeli soldiers set out. This tells us that not only was Deborah the only woman to serve as a judge, but she was respected by the common people and the military leaders.

To finalize Deborah’s position as God’s chosen leader of the people, we see the climax of the day of battle.  “Deborah said to Barak, ‘Go! This is the day the Lord has given Sisera (the enemy leader) into your hands. Has not the Lord gone on ahead of you?'”  God delivered Sisera and his army into the hand of General Barak, as He had promised.

This victory under the leadership of God and his chosen leader brought a return by the people to God, and the nation enjoyed forty years of peace.

We don’t know if judges served for life, or if they melted back into their former lives when the danger to the nation had passed. We do know that none tried to take over as king (or queen), nor did they try to establish dynasties.

sue wilson

What were judges almost four thousand years ago? They were not the robed figures that inhabit the courts today. In fact, they were more military leaders than judges. The way in which they were judges was that they led God’s people and carried out God’s instructions.

In addition, judges were not permanent fixtures on “the bench” as they sometimes are today. One of God’s judges would be lifted up by God as a short-time leader of the people, to get them back on the right path.

The reason that they wandered was the same as ours–times were good, crops were plentiful, so who needs God.

Let’s look at what is called the Cycle of the Judges:  1) Times are good, so who needs God. We’re doing fine on our own. 2) a powerful neighboring nation arises and puts Israel under pressure to pay tribute (blackmail) in order to remain at peace. 3) The people remember God and beg for His help. 4) God helps by raising up a person as a military leader with character and a focus on God. 5) Through that leader God defeats Israel’s enemies and restores her prominence.

Here’s the sad part–this cycle reoccured about six times in a little over three hundred years! Talk about patience on the part of God!

One judge was pretty much a selfish failure who God continued to use anyway. Another was a woman. All were imperfect, but used by God for His glory and His people’s rescue.

This was the time just before God allowed the people to have an earthly King.

sue wilson

If You Wonder

Is this book really true? Many critics today claim that the Bible cannot be true as written, or that it just carries ideas that Jesus taught, not his real words.

The Old Testament is doubted for one major reason–it contains miracles. Some say that you cannot go against the laws of physics. Isn’t it ironic that the latest winner of the Nobel Prize has proven that we can do just that? If we can begin to conquer the laws of physics, why could not the God that created them do the same? Why couldn’t the earth slow during a battle if the creator of the world chose? Also, if you believe that a man crucified DEAD walked out of his tomb (and if my reader is a Christian, you do believe that) why is it hard to believe that God did strange and wonderful things in the Old Testament times as well?

As far as the question of whether we can believe all that is said about Jesus, I cite two passages. The first is from John as he concluded his account of Jesus’ life:

“This is the disciple [John identifies himself] who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.  Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.”

The second is from Peter, who was at Jesus’ transfiguration with John when He spoke to two long-“dead” leaders of God’s people:

“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty [when the Father confirmed His Son]. We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.”

Why does the world not question the words or veracity of other ancient books? Because only the Bible threatens our own godhood by proclaiming that there is one greater than we; that we are sinners who cannot save ourselves–who will not evolve into gods; that we need a Savior if we are to continue into an afterlife of joy and peace. These concepts fly in the face of our sinfulness and egos. We want to be our own gods, but the Bible keeps getting in the way, telling us that there is a Ruler of this universe and of our lives. A Ruler who battles evil in us and for us; who fights an unseen battle against evil that will culminate with the return of His Son, who died so that we might live eternally.

sue wilson

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