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Before Israel had any Kings God used the judges. The Israelites were becoming more and more like the wicked nations around them. God used the judges to warn the people that God had better things planned for them, namely following Him. Othniel, Ehud, and Deborah were all judges with few character flaws. We see their military conquest and defeat of Israel’s national enemies.
But from then on we see the judges grow increasingly flawed, much like the nation around them. This culminated with some bad judges like Jephthah and Sampson. Although these bad judges did some good things, ultimately they did some very wicked things.
Gideon is the judge right between the very good judges and the bad judges. Gideon’s main problem was fear. God told Gideon that He wanted to save the people of Israel from the Midianites. God said He would use Gideon to lead His people to win this victory. But Gideon was afraid and he needed several miraculous signs to finally agree to follow God.
God continued to stretch Gideon’s faith. Through a series of tests, God whittled Gideon’s army of 32,000 down to only 300 men. The Midianite army was 135,000 strong. I don’t know about you but I would be very uncomfortable with those odds. But God stretched Gideon and pushed him out of his comfort zone. It didn’t make sense to Gideon but he followed God anyway.
God then gave Gideon the game plan, which didn’t involve any ancient war machines like catapults or trebuchets. Instead, they used trumpets and clay jars with a candle inside. You can read Judges 7 and 8 to see what happened, but the short story is that God gave them the victory despite all the odds that were stacked against them. God used Gideon’s weakness to prove He was strong. Gideon was able to be part of the biggest underdog victory in history.
God may be calling you to do something that doesn’t make sense. Fear may be standing in the way. But nothing great ever happens in our comfort zone. Trust God and follow Him, and He will give you the victory.