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Stuck Inside Part 3: Gideon
For those taking the time to join me, I say welcome. This is part three of our student series, “Stuck Inside.” So far, we have looked at Joseph from Genesis and the story of Passover from Exodus. This devotion is focused on another pretty well-known character from the Bible: Gideon.
Gideon was a farmer who was called by God to serve as a judge and his story can be found in Judges chapters 6-8. He served for forty years as Israel’s fifth judge who excelled in military strategy, especially with the element of surprise. He is probably the most well-known for destroying his family’s idols, using a fleece to determine God’s will, raising an army of 10,000 soldiers and defeating 135,000 Midianites with just 300 soldiers.
Gideon’s story is a powerful one, filled with triumphs and failures. Throughout his years Gideon would find great success in combat. He is listed as a member of the, “Hall of Faith,” in Hebrews 11 for his obedience to God…but he was not perfect. At one point Gideon collected Midianite gold and created an idol that became a point of worship but Gideon’s greatest failure was that he failed to establish the nation of Israel in God’s ways…and when he died, they returned to worshipping the idols he fought so hard to destroy. Gideon was called by God but was an imperfect tool in God’s toolbox, just like you and I and although his triumphs were great… he began his service to the Lord with humble beginnings.
In Judges 6 the Israelites are being constantly raided by the Midianites and other foreign peoples who would ruin their crops and camp on their lands so consistently that they called out to the Lord for help. God reminded them of His faithfulness to them in the past…and then we meet Gideon in Judges 6:11-12, who is hiding in a winepress threshing wheat. Threshing wheat is the process of separating the grains of wheat from the outer shell (called chaff). This was something that normally would’ve been done in a large, open area, perhaps even on a hill where the wind and elevation would blow away the chaff when the wheat was tossed in the air by farmers but because of the constant raids, Gideon was forced to thresh wheat in a winepress…a pit hidden from view. Not where we would expect to find a hero, right? God had other plans.
God calls Gideon a mighty warrior, but Gideon is hard to convince. You see Gideon, in his conversation with God, reveals that that he was afraid his limitations would prevent God from using him. He tells God that his clan is the weakest. He tells God that of the weakest clan that he is the weakest in his family. But God was with Gideon and as we observed in sessions one and two, God works through a faith that obeys.
Gideon had a limited vision, just like you and I, but he was committed to doing what he knew to do. His challenge was to provide food for his family even though he was constantly under attack. He was resourceful. He got creative. He found a way around the obstacle he was facing and that’s where the angel of the Lord came to Him and Gideon was surprised by what he was called to do but he used the same skills that helped him provide for his family to serve the Lord: passion, resourcefulness (or creativity) and speed.
Gideon had his weak moments, sure, but he was still God’s servant. If you can see yourself in his weaknesses, can you also see yourself in being willing to serve like him? Remember, he was a man who obeyed God by giving his full attention to the task at hand with the skills that he had. So, let us give our full attention to believing God can use our season of, “threshing wheat in a winepress,” to His glory too.