The Lesson of Gideon


Many people may not know the story of Gideon. In brief, Gideon was Israel’s fifth Judge, and his story is told in Judges 6-8. The Lord told Gideon that he was to save Israel from a large army gathered against Israel. Gideon raised an army of 32,000 which was whittled down to 300 men by God, who told Gideon that He had done this so the people of Israel would know that it was the Lord, and not their own ability, which had saved them. Gideon proceeded with this small band against an army of at least 120,000 and, by following God’s instructions, won one of the most complete and lasting victories ( 40 years of peace afterward) in the Bible.

What then, does this ancient story teach us about God?  To begin with, it reminds us that God does things according to His timetable and His plan, and certainly not necessarily according to our agenda. Secondly, this story reminds us that we must always be loyal and faithful to Our Lord, regardless of how bleak things may appear to our mere mortal minds and eyes. However, I believe that the greatest lesson of Gideon is that God will often wait to help us until we are on the true brink of oblivion, of disaster, of total loss, such that we will know that it is He who has spared our misfortune and lifted us from the brink of annihilation. This reality serves not only as proof of His power but, also, as a further test of our own faith, which tends to falter the closer we reach disaster.  It is certainly easier to pray for, to hope for, and to expect help when things are slightly or even somewhat difficult. How much more difficult is it for us to maintain such fervor, faith, and belief when things seem lost?

Marriages on the brink of divorce have been saved through an illness that slaps the couple out of their anger and resentment and back to God on their knees.  Causes seemingly destined to doom have been miraculously resolved at the last possible moment. It is never too late or too difficult for the Lord and, quite on the contrary, the later the better, for through such desperation much glorification and gratitude often flows.

A good question at this point would ask why we have to reach such desperate moments to believe, why things have to become so bleak before we reach the desperate point of total surrender to His Will. How much greater if we honor and praise Him from beginning to end, when things are at their best or their worst, with no moderation depending on our own discomfort or fear?  At some point in our lives and, most probably, at many such times, we will be “Gideoned”, which I define as being brought to our brink, to our knees, and to our last straw, before Our Lord steps in to save us. May God Almighty provide us with the intuition and perception to recognize this test and plead for forgiveness for doubting His Divine mercy and power on those occasions.

Copyright 2011  Gabriel Garnica

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