I love the story of Gideon because it seems like he was a pretty skeptical guy – I respect that. I feel like his life motto was something like “trust but verify”. He wanted to be sure that the voice he was hearing was really the Lord’s.
We first meet Gideon in Judges 6 when an angel visits him while he’s hiding wheat from the Midianites. Again, the Lord specializes in picking people to be heroes that we would label as anything but hero-worthy. The angel says that Gideon is going to save Israel and then Gideon asks for the angel to stay for Gideon to offer him a present, but take note of how Gideon responded in the angel’s presence.
“So Gideon went into his house and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and the broth he put in a pot, and brought them to him under the terebinth and presented them.
And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.” And he did so.
Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished from his sight. Then Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord. And Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.”
But the Lord said to him, “Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.” Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace.” Judges 6:19-24 (ESV, emphasis added)
This demonstration of who God is led to Gideon’s obedience when it came to tearing down an idol. Though he was scared and did it at night, he still was obedient to God’s word. But Gideon was still nervous and doubtful, even after the Lord’s confirmation in the story above, which led to his famous fleece experiment (Judges 6:36-40). What’s so interesting to me is that after God gives the two signs Gideon requested, Gideon didn’t ask for more signs though God’s instructions got even more crazy.
Though Gideon took some convincing, his faith quotient increased exponentially between Judges 6 and Judges 7. God was so patient with Gideon as he was wrestling with the dichotomy of how he saw himself and how God saw him. The Lord didn’t condemn Gideon or beat him up because he was asking for reassurances, but he met Gideon right where he was at – in the middle of his insecurities and fears and doubts knowing the warrior and deliverer that was housed inside.
I cannot express to you just how comforting this story is to me because I’m Gideon. I’ve taken some convincing and poking and prodding along the way. I’ve allowed myself to be ruled by fear and doubt and insecurity yet God was patient with me too. He still is patient with me, though he’d be well within his rights to move onto someone else.
If you have or do struggle with fear, doubt, or insecurities, I want to remind you that God doesn’t condemn you for that (Romans 8:1). He is a loving and patient Father who celebrates it when you respond according to faith and cheers when you return to him after a fear-based response.
I encourage you to come to your Heavenly Father today, even if you find that idea scary or you find yourself in the middle of a doubt-storm. God is waiting for you with open arms – take a step of faith, no matter how small, today!
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