Summary: God uses a coward to lead a nation of cowards



1. God chooses weak things. Gideon was the youngest son, of the poorest family, of the weakest tribe in Israel. “My family is poor in Manasseh, and I am least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15).

2. Weak name reflected expectation. The name Gideon meant “Barley” i.e., the poorest bread. “I dreamed . . . a cake of barley tumbled into the host of Midian . . . and overthrew it” (7:13). “This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon” (7:14). Gideon was also called Jerubbael (Baal fighter), after confronting idol worship.

3. Coward, Gideon. “Threshed wheat by the winepress to hide it from the Midianites” (6:11).

4. Reluctant.

a. Wanted the Angel of the Lord to prove himself, i.e., a miracle.

b. Cut down groves by night not seen.

c. Wanted proof by fleece, twice.

d. God sent home 32,000 who were afraid. Only 300 left.

e. Went to spy out the Midianite camp, afraid.

5. God used a coward to lead a nation of cowards. Why? “God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, . . . to bring to naught things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence . . . He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Cor. 1:27-31).


1. When God’s people cry for deliverance, God encounters a person to deliver them. “The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua and the elders that outlived Joshua . . . another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the works which He had done for Israel. The children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served Baal . . . the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, so He delivered them into the hands of the plunderers” (Judge 2:7,10,11,14, NKJV). “Then the Lord raised up Judges who delivered them out of the hands of those who plundered them” (Judges 2:16, NKJV).

2. God usually encounters those who are faithfully working, even when their task may seem small and their results seem to make little contribution. “God hath chosen the weak things of this world”

(1 Cor. 1:26).

3. The Lord encounters people at their level of unbelief or negative self-image. The disciples asked, “Why could not we cast him out?” (Matt. 17:19). Jesus answered, “Because of your unbelief . . . if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say to this mountain . . . nothing shall be impossible to you” (Matt. 17:20). Wesley said, “Use what faith you have and God will give you more faith.”

4. In a crisis, God encounters a person for service, but His relationship with people is still based on a blood sacrifice. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

5. Even though God cannot change and His revelation is always consistent with His nature, God encounters people differently according to their need. “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth . . . He also will hear their cry and save them” (Psa. 145: 3, 18-19).

6. What a person gets from God during an encounter guides his thoughts about that experience. Gideon remembered (1) the place i.e., the oak in Ophrah, and (2) the altar that was called, Jehovah-shalom (6:24).

7. Sometimes the place we encounter God becomes reverent and remembered. “But unto the place which the Lord your God shall choose . . . to put his name there, even unto his habitation shall ye seek, and thither thou shalt come” (Deut. 12:5).

If you have never really accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, would you do it right now? Do not delay or put it off. If you would like to receive Christ by faith, pray this simple prayer in your heart:

Dear Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for my sins on the cross, and rose again the third day. I repent of my sins. By faith I receive the Lord Jesus as my Savior. You promised to save me, and I believe You, because You are God and cannot lie. I believe right now that the Lord Jesus is my personal Savior, and that all my sins are forgiven through His precious blood. I thank You, dear Lord, for saving me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, God heard you and saved you. I personally want to welcome you to the family of God and rejoice with you.

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