With names like ‘Destroyer’, ‘Mighty Warrior’, ‘Feller-of-trees’, and ‘Let Baal Plead’, you would think you were dealing with a legendary hero, a fearless fighter, and the sort of person you’d rather have on your team than fighting against you. Yet the Gideon of the Old Testament seems so unspectacular on the surface. He needed signs left and right. Judges 6:17, 36-40, and Judges 7:10-11, shows us how uncertain and fearful he was. If anything, his disposition betrayed his name. But he did have something going for him, God.
Now I’ve been told all my life not to test God. It’s an Old Testament commandment that Gideon broke again and again. The only place where God said it was okay for people to test him was when one of the minor prophets was telling the Israelites they were robbing God by not giving him a proper tithe.
Yet, Gideon recived a mention in the Hall of Faith that is Hebrews 11:32-34, “32And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, 33who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.”
Gideon’s weakness became his strength and secured his slot in the Hall of Faith. Gideon – of the least family of the weakest clan of the smallest tribe, uncertain and fearful, a man who saved the Israelites from the raiding Midianites, Amalekites, and other eastern peoples, a man who took out Baal from his place and honored God, a man who lead a down-sized army of merely three hundred fighters routed a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen and then another fifteen thousand. Yet, after all of that, Gideon’s record is tarnished – he took his trophies and made an ephod that took the people’s devotion away from the Lord.
Ultimately, Gideon did live up to the meanings of the his name. He dealt with Baal, cut the Asherah poles, He was a mighty warrior with the help of God, and was a destroyer in two senses, destroying the Midians and ulimately, the Israelites in the fallout of his life. But, he asked God. He depended upon God. He waited on God. And that is why he is mentioned in the New Testament. Faith isn’t always knowing and being certain. Sometimes faith is asking the hard questions and depending upon God’s answers.