“The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour” (Judges 6:12).

 

‘A mighty man of valor.’ What an incredible statement it was to make to a man who was frightened of the enemies of his people that he was threshing his wheat by the winepress to hide it from the enemy! Was it a joke? But there were fine points about this man that God saw and which made him in the end an instrument of mighty deliverance. There was a sorrow that concerned him and there were two aspects to this sorrow. On the one hand there were the personal problems of his people. They were impoverished and oppressed and Gideon found himself asking the question, “Why then is all this befallen us?” Gideon was a man who was willing to ask questions and who refused to accept things as they were. There were also the spiritual problems to his faith. “Where be all His miracles which our fathers told us of? If God was with them, if they were God’s people and if God had done great things for the nation in the past, why was not God doing something now?” He was a man who was concerned.

Then came a summons to challenge him. God was saying the same to him. “Why don’t you do something?” What a challenge that was – but it was one that he met! The challenge was also to obey his Lord. In the first instance, that obedience lay within the sphere of his own life. He was told by God to throw down the altar of Baal that stood in the grounds of his own home. Gideon did what God told him. Even though he did it by night, because he was afraid to do it by day, but he did it!

In the end there was a success that crowned him. As a result of his obedience, we are told that the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon (Verse 34). It is obvious that if anything was to be done,  he would need divine help to do it and the divine help came.  In his success we see in the first place, that the design for his task was accepted! That design was God’s. Never was a strange battle fought in a stranger way than Gideon’s battle! But to the smallest detail he went about it in the way God told him. Is it any wonder that the story ends with the defeat of his foes? The great army of the Midianites put to flight by a handful of men, three hundred to be precise, waving torches and shouting, ‘The sword of the Lord and of Gideon’. God’s work done in God’s way, in the end achieves God’s purposes.

Dr. Wilder, a dynamic Missionary leader in India, was dining with three naval officers. During the course of the conversation one of the officers remarked, “Why don’t these missionaries stay at home and mind their own business?” Dr. Wilder replied, “Suppose you were ordered to take your battleship to Constantinople to-morrow, would you choose whether to obey or not?” The officer retorted, “If we are ordered to go, we must go, even if every ship is sunk and every sailor killed.” “Quite right,” said the missionary, “I have orders from the divine government; Go and preach the gospel to every creature.”