“And he said unto Him, Oh my LORD, wherewith shall I save Israel ? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least of my father’s house” (Judges 6:15).
The story of Gideon is both a thrilling testimony of God’s provision and a warning against human pride. Although it happened long ago at a low point in the history of Israel, its spiritual principles are still relevant for Christians today.
Gideon was a most unlikely candidate for heroic leadership. He came neither from the kingly tribe of Judah, the priestly tribe of Levi, nor the dominant tribe of Ephraim. Furthermore, he was from a poor family, and of least importance even in his own family. Not very promising! But the Lord called him a “mighty man of valor,” and promised that He would enable Gideon to “smite the Midianites,” whose great hosts had subjugated the Israelites (Judges 6:5,12,16).
God chooses men according to their hearts, not their strength, or wealth, or knowledge, or family background (I Corinthians 1:26–29). Gideon was outwardly unimpressive, but he was courageous and industrious, zealous for the Lord, and burdened for his people even in a time of deep apostasy and humiliation, and that is the kind of person God delights to use. The modern organization of Christian laymen known as The Gideons chose him as their namesake, and God has blessed these ordinary laymen also in a unique fashion, enabling them to distribute free Bibles and Testaments by the millions to key groups and in key places all over the world, with resultant blessings beyond measure.
Before God could use Gideon, however, he first had to destroy the family idol and then eliminate from his army all who were either fearful or careless (Judges 6:25; 7:2–6). These criteria are as relevant today as ever, and when they are met, we ourselves may become like Gideon, and God can use us to win great victories too. HMM