Judgesby Gary Inrig
In many ways, God is asking Gideon to fight his most difficult battle first. Often the hardest place to represent Christ is in our own family and with our closest friends and co-workers. It is much easier to stand up for the Lord among strangers than in our own homes, communities, or companies. It is much easier to share the gospel anonymously or with casual acquaintances than with fellow workers, classmates, or close friends. But we cannot hide our commitment to the Lord from those closest to us.
Judges 6:27 conveys an important lesson about faith and obedience. God does not supernaturally remove Gideon's anxieties and fears, but Gideon obeys anyway. Faith is not obeying without fear; it is obeying despite fear. Trust is not demonstrated by fearlessness but by obedience. Often, God's call in our lives can stretch us to the breaking point, and we find ourselves full of fear and uncertainty. Still, God calls us to obey, and we discover that when we focus on obedience, He deals with our fears. If you sometimes feel fearful and weak as you obey God, you are in good company. Gideon's obedience, even in the darkness of night, produces results visible in the daylight of the next morning:
First is the anger of the townspeople (vv. 28-30). Verse 30 is probably the most graphic picture of the total apostasy of Israel in the book of Judges. Israel has profaned and degraded God's name; the makers of idols should have been executed. Yet the townsfolk are ready to kill Gideon. Destroying a Baal shrine is, in their opinion, a capital offence. How twisted their perspective has become!
Second is the transformation of Joash (v. 31). When Joash realises what Gideon has done, he immediately springs to his son's defence. Perhaps he was shamed and challenged morally and spiritually: he knows Gideon's actions are right and that he should have done the same thing. The man that Gideon fears the most has become his greatest advocate. Our obedience to the Lord can do great things in the lives of the most unexpected people. People whose reactions we fear the most are often the first to respond positively when they see the reality of our commitment to Jesus Christ.
Third is the reputation of Gideon (v. 32). Gideon's new name, Jerubbaal, literally means ″Let Baal contend (against Gideon)″, but it came to have the extended meaning ″Baal-fighter″ or ″Baal-conqueror″. Every time men looked at Gideon, they had visible proof of the weakness of Baal and the power of God. Our courage to commit ourselves decisively and finally to the lordship of Jesus Christ can be used by God in the lives of others.
How can you share your commitment to the Lord at home, in your community or workplace?
How can you draw on God's strength to obey Him despite your fears?