Gideon - lessons for today
Introduction and background
An appreciation of the era in which Gideon lived helps shed light on the kind of person we are dealing with.
By the time of Joshua?s death the tribes of Israel had settled into their allocated land. The people of Israel owned all the land, but did not possess it all and therefore could not enjoy it all. There was no overall leader and the people soon resorted to doing what was right in their own eyes (Judges 21:25). A period of deserting God and worshipping the idols of the land followed (Judges 3:7-8; 4:1-4; 6:1; 10:6-7; 13:1).
Deuteronomy 6 outlines the basic responsibilities Israel were expected to follow in the land. They were:
1. Love and obey the LORD (v1-5).
2. Teach your children to follow God?s way (v6-9).
3. Be thankful for God?s blessings (v10-15).
4. Do not worship the pagan gods (v16-25).
In refusing to follow their basic responsibilities the children of Israel found themselves falling into sin, preceded inevitably by servitude under the heathen nations. This stirred them to give supplications to God for deliverance, which resulted in their salvation via a judge sent by God. A period of silence then ensued as they enjoyed freedom. Unfortunately, prolonged freedom lured Israel back to sin and the whole cycle started again.
It was during an era of servitude under the Midians that Gideon became a judge (Judges 6). The Judges fulfilled a military leadership role, although most of them also had political and spiritual functions.
Gideon - lessons for contemporary Christians
Foundation - the shaping of his person
- Judges 6:1-6
- Oppressions wields an influence on the soul of a person (v6)
- The power of influence that others have on us is often under-estimated
- Prayer brings a response from God (v7-8)
- The only prophet (save Deborah) in the book of Judges.
- Consider the environment from which Gideon emerged
Gideon - a product of his time
- Judges 6:11-14
- Gideon lived in fear like everyone else (v11).
- He had more potential than he was aware (v12, 14).
- He had grown completely ignorant of the reason of Israel?s dilemma (v13).
- Gideon?s circumstances had caused him to over-estimate his predicament (v15, 16 and 27).
- Gideon had to confirm the presence of God before he could respond (v17-24).
- Gideon was aware of the consequences of his actions. He found the best way to do God?s will (v25-27).
Gideon - availability was his asset, no spiritual giant here.
- Judges 6:28 - 40
- When the enemy came God?s spirit anointed Gideon (v33-35).
- I need to see your power Lord, but don?t know what I want to see (v36-40).
- Judges 7:1-25
- From 32,000 to 300 - not what Gideon would have wanted (v1-8)
- Further building up of Gideon?s faith (v9 -15)
- A strategy that took a miracle to work (v16-25).
Gideon - Getting to know the man
- Judges 8:1- 21
- Wise, a soft answer avoids conflict (v 1-3).
- Serves revenge on the children of Israel - Succoth & Penuel (v4-17)
- Seeks fame for his son (v18-21)
Gideon - If failure seemed bad, success was worse
- Judges 8:22-35
- Words and actions - rejected the throne but lived like a King (v22-27).
- God?s grace - success is not always measurable by what you see (v28).
- Gideon?s sons name was Abimelech meaning ?my father is a king? (v31)
Things to reflect on
- We should not allow our circumstances to define our person.
- If the growth in your character does not match that of your ministry and influence, your character will eventually cause your downfall.
- Knowledge, skill and attitude (character) are essential elements in handling the world, life and ministry.
Questions for reflection
- What is the danger of doing what is right in our own eyes?
- What lesson does Deuteronomy 6 hold for us today?
- How can we discern the level of influence the circumstances around us are having on our lifestyle and faith?
- Who does God consider a ?mighty person?? Explain.
- How can we prepare to handle success?
- What other lessons can you glean from the life of Gideon?