Tucked away in the Old testament book of Judges are three chapters that share the highlight reels of a Israeli judge name Gideon. Gideon was from the smallest clan in Israel and when God called him, Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide his wheat from the Midianites who were ruling the land.
Like many of us, Gideon immediately met God with his own insecurities. “But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” Judges 6:15 He immediately started asking “How can I do what you have said I could do?” He laid it all out for God, all his excuses for God to handle.
Maybe it is just me, but I often meet God with this. He tells me I can do something, and I immediately start with the reasons why I am the wrong choice. I feel okay to do things that are within my comfort zone, but as soon as I feel led to do something outside of it, I am filled with excuses. I fail to stand on the promise that With God I Can Do All Things (Philippians 4:13). God knows my deepest fears and insecurities, even ones I have not yet discovered. If I am open before the Lord with those, He can address them. He can take my excuses and turn them into action.
Gideon worked through his own insecurities, and then did what most of us do next “God, give me a sign.” Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. Judges 6:17
No one wants to lay it all on the line only to find out they missed God. However, too many times we are so concerned about missing God that we fail to take a step. Asking God to give us something to confirm what He is saying is not doubt as long as action follows it. Yes, God wants us to get to the point that we know His voice and just follow, but there are times when God will show us that we can trust Him and show us a sign.
God was not upset with Gideon for asking for the sign. Instead He performed a miracle to give Gideon the confirmation that he needed. Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of the Lord disappeared. Judge 6:21
That miracle propelled Gideon into action. Then the Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon with power. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer came to him. He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, summoning their warriors, and all of them responded. He was empowered to call together the warriors, and then reality hit Gideon. Those insecurities returned and Gideon again asked “Show me a sign”.
Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water.
God so wanted to see Gideon step into his purpose. God knew that what He was asking Gideon to do would take more than Gideon had to give. Gideon’s faith would need to be strengthened to help him face the battle ahead. God complied with Gideon’s request. God accepted the fleece that Gideon laid before Him. Then Gideon asked God again “Show me a sign.”
Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew. Judges 6:33-40
God was not angered or surprised by Gideon’s request. Gideon was saying “God I want to trust you, please show me I can.” Gideon gave God a small request, and God answered Him in a big way. As a result, Gideon armed the soldiers and headed into war.
God wasn’t done getting Gideon to trust though. When they got close to the battle, God told Gideon there are too many people with you. “I want this glory, not the army. Lets get rid of the soldiers that are insecure. Send them back home.” It’s funny sometimes God works people through their insecurities, like He did with Gideon. Other times God will let us be ruled by our insecurities until a more opportune time. God took the army from 32,000 down to 10,000 and still said it was too many soldiers. God sent all but 300 soldiers home.
Gideon definitely needed strong faith and trust in God to take such a small number of soldiers to defeat the army of the nation ruling over their people. God knew Gideon would need another boost and so He told Gideon “But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.”
I wouldn’t usually encourage people to eavesdrop for confirmation of God’s plan for your life, but that is what God told Gideon to do. And it worked out just as God had planned. Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!”
His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!” Judges 7:10-14 In the end, Gideon and his army defeated the Midianites.
From Gideon we learn so much about what trust looks like. There is so much give and take with God. He wants us to bring our insecurities before Him, but He wants us to leave them with Him. He is not surprised by our need for reassurance. Sometimes God will let us give in to our insecurities, like He did in sending the army home. There is always a bigger plan in place when God does.
God is okay with us asking Him to give us a sign. He knows that the little signs help grow deeper trust and bigger faith. God needs us to keep growing deeper trust because the battles we face go from concept to battle and we will need a strong faith for walk out the plans and purpose God has for us. When we walk in the fullness of faith, God will do great and mighty things through us.
This blog is part of a #Write31Days series on trust. 31 Days is an online writing challenge, where bloggers pick one topic and write a post on that topic every day