“Time would fail me to tell of Gideon [and others] who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” (Hebrews 11)
- To Save implies the need to be SAVED. If you live in the northeast suburbs of Damascus (according to tradition, the location of the Garden of Eden) you understand what it means to live in a virtual hell. After years of war, society breaks down and it residents share the symptoms PTSD. It’s in that kind of setting, the angel of God appears to Gideon.
Israel is a tough spot. The camel riding Midianites were terrorizing Manasseh. The Bible refers to the Midianites as a “plague of locusts” (cf. Judges 6:5). Israel was in need of a savior.
- Do you know who You Are? The name Gideon means, “hewer, slasher, or hacker. Gideon’s dad was Joash, a well-known owner, proprietor of the cult Ophrah (aka Baal). In Israel’s travel guide, it had the very best Asherah (sacred tree). Israel was in need of a hero. The Angel of the Lord gives Gideon a new name, “The Lord is with you, O champion.”
- God Uses Insignigant People. Gideon confesses, “My family is the lowliest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.” Years later, the greatest king in Israel’s history will be the ruddy shepherd boy, the youngest in the family, David. Mustard seed Christianity isn’t only a nice slogan, it’s the DNA of who God uses.
- Heroes Don’t Begin as Saints. The Angel tells Gideon, “Go with the strength you have and save Israel from the power of Midian.” Gideon and St. Patrick both started out worshiping false gods. Before he was St. Patrick, he took part in pagan ceremonies, saying in his confessions, “I did not believe in the living God.” When Jesus told the disciples to “Go” in Matthew 28, Pentecost was still future. “Go” and “Pentecost” follows.
- There is always the Eye of the Needle (cf. Matthew 19:23-30). The LORD said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering.”(cf. Judges 6:25). Like Abraham at Ur (cf. Genesis 12:1) and the Apostles in Matthew 19, Gideon gives up family and wealth. Say Yes to God’s call.
- Salvation Means Justice. The angel of God promises complete victory saying, “I shall be with you and you will cut down Midian to the last man.” The Psalmist writes, “Truth springs forth out of the earth and justice will look down from heaven” (Psalm 85) With Moses, God used his staff and defeated the Egyptians. With Gideon, he used trumpets and torches. Victory over evil is the hope of every Christian. Do you want to know what the saints are praying in heaven? “They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?”(Rev.6:10) When you stop believing in judgment, you stop believing in salvation.
- Salvation is a Relationship. Like Abraham in Genesis 15: 13, God asks Gideon to prepare a meal. Judges 6 records it: “The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and unleavened cakes and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth.” When he had done so, the angel of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held and touched the meat and unleavened cakes. Thereupon a fire came up from the rock that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes, and the angel of the LORD disappeared from sight.” Both the meal and the angel disappear and all that remains is Gideon’s belief. The Lord assures him: “Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die.” The day of your salvation is the beginning of eternal life.