July 24, 2011 Sunday School Lesson
Judges 6-8; 21:25/Judges 7:2-4, 13-15; 8:22-26
Gideon’s story begins like others in the Book of Judges. Israel, having strayed from the Lord and living under the control of the Midianites, cried out to Him for His help, and the Lord raised up a man to lead them out of their oppression.
The first thing we see in the story of Gideon is that God chose him. There were many other men, but in the wisdom known only to almighty God, He chose to use Gideon in His plan.
Secondly, Gideon appears to have been an ordinary person. Scripture contains nothing to indicate that he was exceptional among the Israelites. In fact, we find Gideon threshing wheat at a winepress because he wanted to hide from the Midianites. The Lord delights in using unlikely people.
The third point to note is that Gideon did not want to answer the Lord’s call. Gideon asked God how he could save Israel. After all, he was just Gideon who came from a poor family, and to make matters even worse, he called himself the least in his father’s house.
Many times it is the case that the first verification of a man’s call by the Lord is that he looks for reasons not to respond to the call.
Humility empties a person of self and allows the Lord to take over. That was what Gideon needed, and it’s what we must have in order to be used by the Lord.
Look at how the Lord built Gideon’s army by reducing its number. Gideon had assembled an army of 32,000 men, but the Lord said there were too many soldiers. God told Gideon to send home any men who were afraid, and 22,000 left.
Ten thousand men were still too many, the Lord said. He told Gideon to lead these men to water and watch how they drank. Some men scooped water in their hands and brought it to their mouths. Other men got on their knees and drank water like dogs. There were 300 men who scooped the water, and these were the soldiers God selected for Gideon.
Gideon took a man with him, and they spied on the enemy’s camp. They heard a man tell about a dream in which a cake of barley bread rolled into the camp and flattened a tent. The man who heard the dream said, “This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.”
Sure enough, God delivered the enemy into the hands of Gideon, whose men were armed with pitchers, torches and trumpets. For the most part, the enemies destroyed themselves, and Gideon was a hero.
From the poorest and the least, God raised up his man to be a national hero. What will God do today with people who unashamedly follow Him?
The Sunday school lesson is written by Ed Wilcox, pastor of Centerville Baptist Church.