by Ann Cooke
Sin creates a divide between God and His people, and sometimes the consequences of that sin can literally leave you “running for the hills.”
Let’s look at the life of a biblical character by the name of Gideon. His story is found in the book of Judges chapters 6-8. Judges covers the 299 year period of history during which “everyone did what was right in their own eyes”. (Judges 17:6) After Joshua, no man stood in the gap to take his place as God’s man. There was no king in Israel. God was their king, but they didn’t heed Him. Every tribe governed as they wished. This defiance of God, who had just helped the Israelites start to conquer Canaan through Joshua, resulted in God’s chosen people being wretchedly oppressed by their neighbors around them.
Seven times God sent judges; military and spiritual leaders to vindicate them of their troubles.
Seven cycles of sin brought repeated troubles and need for salvation.
Sin does that doesn’t it? As Matthew Henry so aptly puts it; “let all who sin expect to suffer; let all who return to folly expect to return to misery.”
So, once again, Israel “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (Judges 6:1) and God had delivered them into the hands of the Midianites. They had joined with the Amelekites to bring a severe scourge to Israel. Harvest time is when they would invade each year stealing crops and driving Israel to hide in mountains and caves.
So as we are running for the hills, as did the Israelites, let us come to grips with the reality of our sin and begin to cry out to God for mercy and salvation. And because of His unfailing love for His children, He always delivers . . . and the best part is, He gets the glory!
Finally, when poverty stricken, Israel cried out to the LORD. He doesn’t fail them.
Enter Gideon. We find Gideon threshing wheat on a wine press floor. Wheat wasn’t normally threshed on a wine press floor, but he was hiding in fear of losing his family’s food to Midian and his army. However, in the midst of his fear, God was about to assign him a task that would take great faith. And he would have to face his fear. The Angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, proclaiming, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon must have looked behind himself for this “mighty warrior.” Surely the angel couldn’t have meant him!
Gideon asked why God hadn’t delivered Israel from the hand of Midian. Why do you think?
The Lord got down to business and told Gideon to go in the strength he had and deliver Israel from the power of Midian, for He was sending him.
God sees the strength in us and then makes us do what seems impossible while assuring us He will be with us!
Gideon was to go to war against the Midianites. So he amassed an army of 32,000 men. The LORD said that was too many; Israel might brag, “I did it myself.” So Gideon was instructed to release those who were fearful. Twenty-two thousand went to their tents. Another test was given to the remaining ten thousand and 9,700 failed. Gideon was left with a 300-man army to defeat the mighty Midianites! Now he had to rely on God, and that’s just what God had in mind. God used a band of soldiers with trumpets, pitchers and torches to surround and surprise the Midianites and set them to fighting against themselves. The mighty army was subdued and was no longer a threat.
God used a man who was gripped by fear to be a fearless warrior and leader. His fear had been replaced with faith! He had not only faced his fears. He had faithed them! And God used him mightily!
“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of
lions . . .” Hebrews 11:32-33
Are you gripped with fear today?
Can you share how God helped you face your fear and change it to faith? Please share with us to encourage others.
Bio: Ann Cooke is a Christian wife, mother, grandmother of four and aspiring writer. Born in Iowa, but a southerner for thirty-eight years, Ann makes her home in South Carolina with her family. Her involvement in church, missions and local ministries serves as avenues for her to do what she loves best, sharing God and His word and encouraging others.
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