Gideon Bible Story

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Bible Characters

Gideon Bible Story

Welcome to our Christianity Oasis Bible Characters study program. This is our Gideon Bible Story study. The truth within this SON-derful Gideon Bible Story study will truly enhance your be-YOU-tiful Christian walk.

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The Book of Judges

Chapter 6 - 8

Lovely to see you again! Before we begin our next Daily Bread story, let's review what happened at the end of the last story. The king of Canaan was defeated by Deborah and Barak and the land of Israel had rest for forty years being judged by Deborah.

Forty years ... You guessed it ... Probably another new generation aging ... People with their own ideas and wanting to do things their way instead of the Lord's way, and before you know it, they've done evil in the eyes of the Lord once again.

Unwilling to learn from the mistakes of the generations before them, the Lord delivered Israel into the hands of the Midianites, who oppressed them sorely for seven years.

And once again, Israel cried out to God for help. So the Lord sent an Angel to talk to Gideon, of the tribe of Manasseh, who was threshing wheat by the winepress instead of in the threshing floor in order to hide it from the Midianites (because they would either steal it or destroy it). The Angel, sitting under an oak tree, said to Gideon; The Lord is with you, brave man.

Gideon answered, Oh my Lord, If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all His miracles that our fathers told us about? The Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.

Notice in your Bible, that Gideon addresses this Angel of the Lord as "Lord." I point this out because the next verse says:

Judges 6:14

And the LORD looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?

LORD is all in capitals, so you know it is really the Lord, and not just a title, as many servants in Biblical times referred to authority figures as lord. So this "Angel" is really the Lord, just like the Lord appeared to Abraham with the two Angels in Genesis, Chapter 18.

Now, back to the story. Gideon expresses to the Lord that he's doubtful that he can do much of anything for Israel because he was very young and from one of the smaller tribes of Israel. But the Lord assured him that He would be with him and he would defeat the Midianites as if they all were just one man.

Now, just so Gideon would know for sure that he wasn't imagining all this he asked the Lord to oblige him with a sign to show that He really talked with him. So Gideon went and prepared food and brought it out to the Lord under the oak.

The "Angel of God" told Gideon to take the food and lay it on a rock, so Gideon did, and then the Angel touched the food with the end of the staff in His hand and a fire came up out of the rock and consumed it all, then the Angel left Gideon's sight.

When Gideon believed that it was truly an Angel of the Lord, he was afraid and said, Alas, O Lord God! Because I have seen an Angel of the Lord face to face. (It was a mutually shared belief among the Hebrews that if a man saw God, he would die.) But the Lord told Gideon, Peace to you, and don't fear: you will not die.

Gideon gathered many people together to fight against the Midianites, but God knew that with such a large army, the people (Israel) in their vanity, would believe their victory was gained by their own strength instead of providence from God, so He told Gideon to tell all the people who were afraid, they could go home.

Twenty two thousand excused themselves and ten thousand remained, so God told Gideon to bring them down to the water, and all those who lap the water like a dog (which would indicate fervor of character and therefore, bravery) will not go with you, but those who drink the water from their hands (indicating more docile character and therefore tending to be more fearful souls), these will go and fight.

Only 300 men drank from their hands and the Lord said to Gideon, By these 300 men, I will save you and deliver the Midianites into your hand. Let all the others go home.

That same night, the army of Midian was camped in the valley near Gideon and his 300 meek soldiers, and the Lord told Gideon it was time to go to battle, but if he was afraid, to take his servant down to the camp with him and he would then be convinced that he would be victorious.

After all, can you imagine, in the morning, you're thinking that you're going to lead an army of 32,000 into battle, and then by evening, your army has been reduced to 300 less than courageous troops? Who's bravery wouldn't be wilted just a tiny little bit?

Nearing one of the tents, Gideon heard a man (of Midian) telling his comrade about a dream he had of a barley cake that rolled into the Midianite camp and struck a tent so that it collapsed. Then he heard the comrade interpret that it was a sign that God had delivered Midian into Gideon's hand.

With Gideon's confidence now restored, he divided his 300 man army into 3 parts and in the dark of night, holding torches inside of pitchers so their enemies wouldn't see the light, and trumpets in their other hand, they surrounded the enemy camp. Then, at Gideon's order, they blew the trumpets all at once, then broke their pitchers, holding the torches that were underneath, and shouted, The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!

This of course caused such a fright and commotion among the enemy that in their groggy, confused, half awake state, the Lord caused the enemies to turn their swords upon each other as they tried to flee.

Now, that was just the meat and potatoes version of the story of Gideon, if you'd like all the tiny details, I urge you to enjoy it straight out of your Bible, too. No question about it, the victory of this battle was ascribed to the Lord, by those who fought it, but Gideon soon found out that dissension isn't only reserved for enemies, but those of your own country can be mighty disagreeable too.

It seems that when Gideon sent word to the tribe of Ephraim to join in the post-battle pursuit of the enemies, they were miffed that they weren't included in the big battle, but Gideon intelligently pacified them by explaining that it was God's will, and by paying them compliments of their undeniable achievements which Gideon couldn't possibly attempt to outdo. We'll be talking a little more about the tribe of Manasseh (which Gideon was from) and the tribe of Ephraim, later in our study of the book of Judges.

But this wasn't the last of Gideon's troubles. As he was pursuing the kings of the Midianites, he asked the men of Succoth and Penuel (both of the tribe of Gad) if they would provide food for the fighting men because they were faint, but they didn't feel like those soldiers were worthy of their charity because they hadn't already defeated the kings of Midian.

Well, Gideon and his men defeated the Midian army and captured the kings, then taking them back to the men of Succoth and Penuel, he taught them a good lesson.

For forty years, Israel had peace under the judgment of Gideon.

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