Most of us want to know God’s plan for our lives, but we’re not always sure how to find it. One common misunderstanding is the idea that God’s guidance will come to us out of the blue, that it has nothing to do with what we’re doing now. But if we’re always looking around for God’s next assignment, we run the risk of ruining whatever we’re working on right now. Fortunately, the Bible points to a kind of guidance that does not put our current projects in jeopardy. In the Bible’s description of how God guided many people, we can see that often God’s call came while people were completely immersed in the challenge of the moment. A good example of this kind of guidance is seen in Gideon’s life.
Gideon had a limited vision, but he was committed to it. His challenge was to obtain food for his family even though hostile invaders were making the growing, gathering, and preparation of the food almost impossible. Gideon was resourceful. He put a winepress to double use by turning it into a sunken threshing floor. It lacked ventilation to blow the chaff away, but at least it was hidden from the Midianites. Gideon was working in his threshing floor when God sent him a messenger with a challenge.
Gideon was surprised by what God told him to do. He did not want to jump into a task for which he was ill prepared. The angel had to overcome three objections before Gideon was convinced: (1) Gideon’s feelings of responsibility for his family’s welfare, (2) his doubts about the call itself, and (3) his feelings of inadequacy for the job. Once Gideon was convinced, however, he obeyed with zest, resourcefulness, and speed. He dedicated those personality traits to God, with whom he was now personally acquainted.
Gideon had his weak moments and failures, but he was still God’s servant. If you can easily see yourself in Gideon’s weakness, can you also see yourself in being willing to serve? Remember Gideon as a man who obeyed God by giving his attention to the task at hand. Then give your full attention to believing God will prepare you for tomorrow when it comes.
Strengths and accomplishments:
- Israel’s fifth judge. A military strategist who was an expert at surprise
- A member of the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11
- Defeated the Midianite army
- Was offered a hereditary kingship by the men of Israel
- Though slow to be convinced, acted on his convictions
Weaknesses and mistakes:
- Feared that his own limitations would prevent God from working
- Collected Midianite gold and made a symbol that became an evil object of worship
- Through a concubine, fathered a son who would bring great grief and tragedy to both Gideon’s family and the nation of Israel
- Failed to establish the nation in God’s ways; after he died they all went back to idol worship
Lessons from his life:
- God calls in the middle of our present obedience. As we are faithful, he gives us more responsibility
- God expands and uses the abilities he has already built into us
- God uses us in spite of our limitations and failure
- Even those who make great spiritual progress can easily fall into sin if they don’t consistently follow God
- Where: Ophrah, Valley of Jezreel, spring of Harod
- Occupations: Farmer, warrior, and judge
- Relatives: Father: Joash. Son: Abimelech
- Contemporaries: Zebah, Zalmunna
Key verses: “ ‘But Lord,’ Gideon asked, ‘how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’ The LORD answered, ‘I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together’ “ (Judges 6:15, 16).
His story is told in Judges 6-8. He is also mentioned in Hebrews 11:32.