One of the lectionary readings for today have to do Gideon. Gideon is a common lesson in children’s Sunday School. As adults, we might do well to re-examine his biblical record. It seems that some of his exploits are more than “child’s play.” From our reading, one can glean the following…
- Previously YHWH raised a leader when Israel call for help. In this instance, Gideon is first used as a prophet to indict Israel (6:11-24).
- Gideon seems to have been chosen to serve despite his lack of faith (6:13).
- Gideon was aware (6:14-16) of God’s will prior to the wet blanket (6:37). The fleece strengthens his faith and gives evidence to others that God was on their side.
- It appears that some of Israel, possibly led by Gideon’s father (6:25), were worshipping Baal’s wooden gods.
- The lack of numbers (7:4-8) indicates that God is capable of blessing no matter how small the congregation against an adversary no matter how large (7:9-25).
- The community of Israel was so impressed with Gideon’s performance that he is offered it’s leadership (8:22) position. He declines in favor of God’s kingship (8:23).
This history, like much of the OT, is a sorted tale. Israel had really lost it’s way. Nevertheless, YHWH received them back when they called on Him for deliverance.
As far as being called to accomplish God’s purposes, the level of one’s faith may or may not be a consideration. For instance, God used a complete outsider to Israel in Cyrus of Persia (Isa. 44:28-45:4) to release captive Israel from Babylon. This is the same Cyrus who is extensively written about by Herodotus (“Histories“, Book 1). I’m always interested in reading accounts of biblical characters, outside our Bible. Just as I’m interested in what an archeologist might come across in their Middle Eastern explorations. Of course, these interests can be viewed as a lack of my own personnel faith. Even so, as I just penned, I’m still at God’s disposal?!
I can’t recommend the laying of blankets outdoors, at night, as a way of discovering God’s will in Joliet, IL in the 21st century. There are less esoteric ways of approaching that problem (cp. Prov. 3:5-6, James 1:5-8) available to us.
A kudos should be awarded to Gideon for his declining Israel’s kingship. It is an unusual person that deny’s oneself the throne and all it’s trappings, when it’s offered. His reasoning apparently coincides with that of Samuel (1 Sam. 8:1-9).
Going forward, at least until spring, I going to stick to commenting on the OT Revised Lectionary Readings. They very much agree with my enjoyment of great literature – that is stories worth knowing. I will let the other bloggers grapple with the NT, Reformed Theology, and the like.