Summary: How do you begin to rid a nation of Midianites? One small step of faith at a time.
Gideon - One Small Step
When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” Judges 6:22
The Lord had convinced Gideon was convinced that the LORD was giving the command. He was also convinced he would die because he had looked upon the face of the angel of the LORD.
The Lord is awesome, mighty, wonderful great, and above of all of those word descriptions He is Holy. Fear is a natural response of anyone when meeting with holiness. Why, because we are not holy, we are sin-filled disobedient human beings and deep down we know it. Judges 6:23 says,
But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.”
Thankfully the Lord responds with a phrase that is very common in scripture whenever someone comes into contact with the Lord God. Judges 6:24 says,
So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Gideon’s response is common of those who had met with the Lord. The Lord’s peace, grace, and mercy are met with worship. Now the Lord gives Gideon his first task to accomplish. It is the beginning of a long list of accomplishments.
That same night the LORD said to him, “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.”
1. A Small Faith Step
Gideon accepted the Lord’s call and had worshipped Him so you would think at this point he would be off to destroy the Midianites. The Lord did not immediately ask Gideon to go destroy them. He began leading Gideon with small steps.
Perhaps this small step of faith, in comparison to his ultimate task of defeating the Midianites, was to grow Gideon’s faith in the Lord. Gideon’s faith was obviously not very strong, after all, the nation was being punished for their sin and God’s demonstrative power had not been seen lately. Gideon wasn’t sure if the Lord was with Israel any longer.
He was at the bottom of the well, the pit, separating his wheat so the enemy wouldn’t see him. He was hiding. He doubted and questioned every one of the Lord’s statements and command. Even after the Lord’s consumption of the offering by fire, His demonstration of power, Gideon was still gripped with fear. He though the Lord was going to kill him because he had seen the Lord’s face.
Gideon was also fearful when he received his next task, to destroy the Baal alter and Asherah pole. Notice it was shortly after he finished worshipping the Lord and acknowledging His power. What caused his fear? Gideon was afraid of his own family and the men of the town that were a part of this Baal worship. If he acted on the Lord’s command he would be killed. Verse 27b says,
But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.
The Lord would also have an opportunity to demonstrate His power by taking care of him. Perhaps Gideon could overcome his fear or better yet, serve the Lord in faith regardless of his fear.
He would have to be willing to trust in what the Lord had said, all of it, to accomplish what had been put before him. The Lord could then, and only then, demonstrate to Gideon He was with him in power and authority.
Can fear and faith exist together? Yes! Understand that no faith is exercised without the possibility of failure. There must be that little bit of doubt going into a situation in order for faith to come into play. If some action brings the same reaction every time, is positively for sure, then there can be no faith. Hebrews 11:1 says,
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Also unless faith is exercised in an action there is no faith present. We accept the Lord based on faith. Certain behaviors change in our life, we obey the word, we like to worship, we pray, we want to know about God and His promises. James 2:17-19says,
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. ”Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.