When we try to fight sin in our own strength, it swallows us up. It is in understanding that if we acknowledge our weaknesses, we then allow God to address it in our lives, giving us the choice and the ability to do otherwise. There is an expression I use all the time, it is: “if you own your weaknesses, they won’t own you.” This explains Gideon. If you examine the text you see that he is preoccupied with self, so much so that he’s scared to death.
First off, where they were located, the thrashing floor was a hollowed out pit that was located at the crest or top of the mountain, so that they would thrash, or beat the wheat and lifted it up and throw it in the air. The wheat, which had greater substance and weight, would fall to the ground inside the pit. The chaff, which was lighter would be caught by the wind, and blown away from the pit, separating it from the wheat. This setup was one that was open for everyone to see because of the necessity of having the wind come into the thrashing area. The point is, he was thrashing wheat and doing it to be hid which meant he wasn’t doing a very good job of trashing it – but this all points out to his cowardice in hiding while attempting to do an act that normally cannot be done while hiding. This dude was really scared.
The next point I wish to make is not seen in the English translation, but is found in a root dictionary which is very rare to find concerning the Hebrew. I’m talking about a dictionary unlike a Bible dictionary, or even word study dictionary. A Hebrew root dictionary breaks up the 3 letter cognates that make up a Hebrew word. You see, Hebrew is made up in combination of 3 letter words, all having different meanings placed together so as to create a new meaning which is what a cognate is. If you look at the particular pronoun used by the Lord in judges 6: 12 according to a Hebrew root dictionary, it sounds a lot different than the English. What it says is that the Angel, or messenger of the Lord appeared unto Gideon and said to him: “the Lord is with you, though one (The LORD who is) mighty in valor.” The English makes it sound like God is calling Gideon a man of valor, which is ridiculous considering the very cowardice at that he is engaged in at this very moment. I’ve heard some people say that this Scripture is a sarcastic pun, because otherwise this wording sounds ridiculous. Yet, to understand the grammar correctly defined makes the very point that God is attempting to make, which is:” it’s not about you Gideon, it’s about God.”
What Gideon needed to do is the same thing that every believer needs to do, and that is when it comes to being in dangerous or terrifying situations, get our thinking off of ourselves; and put it upon God, the one that is truly mighty in valor. You see Gideon is referred to in the New Testament book of Hebrews, in the 11th chapter; referred to as the chapter of the heroes of faith.
He is mentioned in verse 32, as the first among the Old Testament judges. Yet what did he do to be mentioned among all these believers that exercised such great faith. Going back to judges chapter 6, we see that Israel had sinned against God, and it was God who delivered them into the hands of their enemies (Judg. 6:1) – but why?
Verse 8-10 has the answer in that God sent a prophet to tell them what they did wrong, they did not obey God’s voice. But if that’s all we draw from verse 10, we miss the point. There was a very specific sin that they did; they feared the gods of the Amorites. You see, they’re sin was not committing lasciviousness, drunkenness, thievery, adultery, or even murder. They’re sin was fearing the gods of the Amorites, which could only be done if they refused to fear their own God.
You see they had turned away from their God, this is true – but the point was they had stopped holding faith in God. If you hold faith in God, then you fear Him, because you realize that He is the one that has all the power, and no one else.
This is why David points to the fact that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), which in the Hebrew the word for knowledge here is actually “wisdom,” understood to be of a spiritual nature. The term: “the fear of the Lord” is used over 29 times in the Old Testament for a good reason, it was equated with exercising the beginning of faith. We become spiritually wise when we understand who God is and His great power. In the Hebrew it actually states that we are to be in “awe” of God, it is a reverent fear – yet not based upon a lack of knowledge; but based on a particular knowledge, which is the beginning of wisdom, in coming to understand who God is. It is another way of describing a recognition which leads to faith in God because of his great majesty. Those that don’t believe in God don’t fear him, but those that believe in God in spiritual wisdom, fear Him because they fully grasp all that He is – he is the sovereign owner, regulator, punisher, and most high majesty of the universe.
This sin of Israel during the days of Gideon was their faith in the gods of the ammonites, which mandated a lack of faith in their own God. So to reiterate, the messenger of the Lord starts off his conversation with Gideon by declaring God is strong and deserving of fear, which is in direct opposition to what they had been practicing in their fear of false gods.
Rocky you got it completely right when you said that Gideon was preoccupied with himself. This is what happens when we stop fearing God, and fear anything but Him, when we put our eyes upon ourselves rather than Him. It’s sort of like Peter when he stepped out on the water, as long as he kept his concentration upon Christ, he could do the miraculous, yet when he started to take his focus off of Christ, and place it upon something else that he feared, it became stronger than his faith in Christ was, and he began to sink.
You are absolutely right when you point out the fact that it is not about us, it is about Him. This is one of the problems that we run into, especially in the narcissistic culture that we live, wherein we enjoy the pleasures of life at the expense of trusting God, or we fear the dangers around us at the expense of trusting God. This also fits into the 4 different types of seed proverb of Jesus in Matthew, chapter 13.
Getting back to judges 6:13, we see that Gideon expresses 3 verbs of doubt (no time to address this now – except to say that you always see these same 3 types of verbs of doubt used in the old and New Testament), and in contrast to his refusal to still trust in God, even though an Angel stood right before him. Then, it says that “the LORD” (could this be an “Christophanies,” an pre-incarnate Old Testament appearances of Jesus, such as the “Captain of the Lord’s Host,” who appeared before Joshua, that demanded worship the same as the burning Bush) looked upon him (Gideon), and said, “go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee.” What the Lord was telling Gideon was that despite the fact that he was a coward, he was now given strength of the Lord because “have not I sent thee.”
Gideon was not a courageous man, which is self evident by the very act of him threshing wheat and trying to hide while doing what was meant to be an open act. But the Lord’s point was that NOW Gideon was no longer alone in that he was to go because God had sent him and was with him, and it was God that now would empower Gideon to achieve what God had told him to do.
One last point that needs to be made is that (despite the fact that Hebrews 11 declares the Gideon to be a warrior of faith), even after this conversation with the Lord Gideon continues in such little faith. He sets out a fleece to make sure it’s God addressing him, and that it is God directing him in what he supposed to do, and yet God answers that test this test.
(Concerning Gideon’s fleece: We don’t have the liberty to do fleeces today because we have God’s Word that proves up who He is, and wherein faith is to be grown according to Romans 10:17. To put fleeces before the Lord now after holding God’s Word in our hands is acting in non-faith, not believing what God has said in His Word – God’s Word is His direct instructions to us, His proof to us of who He is, and what He has said; and therefore no other test is required)
And then to add insult to injury, when getting goes out to destroy the worshiping places of the idolaters, he does under the cover of darkness. And then the next day when the idolaters come to punish Gideon for what he has done, it is the strength of his father that defends Gideon.
The point of this whole lesson about this man’s life is the strength of God inside such a weak vessel. And I feel that you have captured that in this post. Was this a short enough reply? Your brother, Brent
“The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’ is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast:
the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’.”
Taken from the “Resource Center” of: www.FaithBibleMinistries.com