So, Gideon was called by God to deliver his people. That is a tall order. And it is a good thing Gideon had a few days to think about it before the LORD commanded him to start delivering.
That night the Lord said to him, ‘Take your father’s bull, the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that belongs to your father, and cut down the sacred pole that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of the stronghold here, in proper order; then take the second bull, and offer it as a burnt-offering with the wood of the sacred pole that you shall cut down.’
That night? Jeez! Give him a chance God!
Quick observation: That poor bull. He had to build his own funeral pyre. Bummer.
Coward by Day, Mighty Warrior By Night.
We’ve already been over Gideon’s fear. But boy, does he play to type tonight!
He was obedient to God’s command, he just did it in a way that no one would ever know it was him: At night. And just in case things got a little rough, he brought a posse of ten servants.
I’m sure they were helpful at the time, but that is a lot of witnesses and loose ends. If you are trying to keep something on the DL (down-low, or “secret” if you aren’t hip with the kids), bringing ten extra people along is probably not the best idea.
But he does it! He goes all guerilla in his back yard. So he is capable of mighty warrior-ing.
The Two Tests
As the time draws nigh for Gideon to deliver Israel, he understandably gets a little nervous. So he gives God a test . . . again.
Last time, he wanted a sign that it was God who was speaking to him. This time he wants to know if God will make good on his promise to be with Gideon.
God passes the first test easily. But Gideon isn’t convinced. So he has God run the same test a second time, but in a slightly different way. God passes.
Gideon is what I will call “cautiously courageous.”
He does what God says, which shows his courage. But he does it in a way that communicates great uncertainty or fear. He does things at night or after God has proven himself multiple times.
I think this explains why, when Gideon was summoning the armies of Israel, that the spirit of the LORD had to “take possession of him” so he would blow the trumpet.
God is so committed to working with this guy that he will barge in and take over to make sure certain things get done. Gideon was probably too afraid to call the armies. So God did it for him, but God still did it through him.
So maybe when you find yourself doing something you never thought you would, God is just showing you how committed he is to working through you.
When was the last time you did something that surprised even you?