The story of the life of Gideon in found in Judges, chapters 6-8.  Judges 6:1 tells us, “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years.”  We then read in verses 7-8, “And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites, That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel, which said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage.  Although the Lord disciplined His people because of the evil in their lives, he lovingly listened to their cries, and began to act to free them from the Midianites.

The Lord chose Gideon to save His people.  Gideon was somewhat of a coward as he threshed his wheat and hid it; let the Midianites take it from him.  It seems the Lord knew more about Gideon’s character than he did.  He calls Gideon a “mighty man of valour.” (Judges 6:12)  In spite of this, Gideon still hesitates.  He questions whether the Lord is really with His people. (Verse 13)  He objects to leading Israel, saying he is but a poor man. (Verse 15)  Yet, we read in verse 16, “And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.”  Still Gideon doubts and asks the Lord for a sign.  The Lord, graciously, gives him a sing and Gideon acknowledges that it is the Lord speaking with him.

As the Midianites and Amalekites gathered themselves together to fight against Israel, Gideon sent out a call for soldiers to join him.  Yet, Gideon still show doubt and asks the Lord for yet another sign.  We read in Judges 6:36-37, “And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said.”  Again, the Lord graciously assures Gideon by performing this sign for him.

Judges, chapter 7, tells us about the army Gideon gathered to fight their enemies.  There were originally 32,000 men in this army.  Verse 2 says, “And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.”  As instructed by the Lord, Gideon allowed anyone that was afraid to go back home.  22,000 soldiers left, leaving only 10,000 men left.  This was still too many men in the sight of the Lord.  He wanted it to be evident to all that He had won this war, not a sizable army.  We read in verse 5, “So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.”  Those who lapped their water with their tongues were true soldiers.  Instead of lowering their heads to the water, they lapped water from their hands as they kept their eyes open for any danger.

Only 300 men lapped water from their hands.  Verse 7 tells us, “And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.”  Because Gideon was still afraid, the Lord allowed him and his servant to sneak into the enemy’s camp to hear what they were saying.  Gideon heard some of them speaking of how Gideon would be victorious and was encouraged to go into battle.  (Verses 9-15)

Many of us are familiar with the battle and the battle cry, “The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.”  I encourage you to read of this event and the great victory that was accomplished by a weak and fearful man when he finally put his faith completely in the Lord and overcame the enemy.  Let’s close this brief meditation by considering the words of the Lord Jesus in Luke 8:50, “Fear not: believe only…”  (201.10)