The Gideon Story
John J. Grosboll
1 Corinthians 10:11 talks about the
experiences of the Children of Israel, and Paul says, “Now all these things
happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon
whom the ends of the ages have come.” We are going through the same
experiences they went through, so let us look at one of these
Judges 6, tells about a man
who felt forsaken and discouraged. The Lord came to encourage him, and
told him he was a mighty man.
Gideon felt like
replying, Lord, I am not. He said, if the Lord is with us, why have all
these calamities happened to us? “‘. . . Where are all His miracles
which our Fathers told us about, saying, “Did not the Lord bring us up from
Egypt?” But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands
of the Midianites.’” Judges 6:13.
Gideon did not hold any
prominent position, and he did not belong to one of the strong tribes like Judah
or Ephraim. In addition to that, Gideon said, I am the least of my
father’s house, so why are you calling me a mighty man? “Then the Lord
turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel
from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?’” And Gideon
replied, “‘O My Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest
in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.’” Ibid., 14,
Lord said, Go!
asked for a sign. If I have found grace in Your sight, if I have found favor in
Your sight, please show
me a sign that it is You who talked with me. Please do not go away until I
can fix you something to eat.
The Lord said, I will wait
until you come back.
Gideon “went in and prepared
a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour.…He put the broth in a
pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented
“The Angel of God said to
him, ‘Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour
out the broth.’ And he did so. Then the Angel of the Lord put out
the end of the staff that was in His hand, and touched the meat and the
unleavened bread; and fire rose out of the rock and consumed the meat and the
unleavened bread. And the Angel of the Lord departed out of his
sight.” Ibid., 17–21.
Then Gideon was
scared. He said, I have been talking with God. Alas!
The Lord said, Do not be
afraid. Do not fear.
Keep that in mind, because
dealing with fear is a big part of the Gideon story.
Going to Work Through You
Notice the first
part of the instruction God gave Gideon. He already told him He was going
to work through him to defeat the Midianites, a war-like people who were the
enemies of God’s people. But before Gideon could go deal with the
Midianites, he had some work to do at home.
Here are some questions for
the men to think about. How are things in your family? If you are a
pastor or an elder, how are things in your church? God holds you
responsible for what is going on in your families. In the Day of Judgment,
God is going to ask us a question that He is not going to ask our wives.
You can read that in the Law of Moses.
If a woman made a vow, and
her husband contradicted it, she was free from that vow. But let me tell
you, if a man makes a vow, he had better fulfill it, because he is responsible
to the Lord. He is responsible for what happens in his home. And, if
he is a pastor or an elder, he is responsible for what happens in his
We are living in a
generation where anything goes, and many fathers, pastors, and elders have let
their responsibility slip. We have things going on in our homes and
churches for which we are not going to want to give account in the Day of
1 Samuel 2, tells of a man
who did this very thing. It says Eli advised his sons not to do
evil, but he did not enforce what he said. He and his sons lost
their souls over it, and many thousands of people also lost their
Things in Your Home?
Before God can
use any man to win a victory over his enemies, things have to be right in that man’s
house, and things were not right in Gideon’s family. The Lord told
him, “‘Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old,
and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden
image that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of this
rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer a burnt
sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.’ So Gideon
took ten men from among his servants and did as the Lord had said to him.
But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to
do it by day, he did it by night.” Judges 6:25–27.
Are there idols in your
family? Are you allowing it to happen? If you are, God is going to
hold you responsible. A father has responsibilities. Ellen White
wrote to fathers that they should not allow their son to curse, use tobacco or
alcoholic beverages in the home.
But what if they say, Dad, I
have the power of choice and I am going to do it anyway?
Then you have a
responsibility to say, You can do it if you want, but you cannot do it in my
home, you will have to leave, because I want the angels of God to dwell upon my
family, and I cannot allow that in my home.
People, today, are mixed up
about love. They think love means that you just let anything happen.
God is love, but there are certain things God would not allow to take place in
heaven, and when some angel said, We are going to do it anyway, the Lord said,
Then you are going to have to get out.
God cannot work miracles for
His church through a man whose family is not in order. Of course, we must
pray and ask the Lord to help us to not be harsh, overbearing, severe, and
unchristlike in our words and behavior. People have to understand that, in
our homes, there is a law—not our law, but the law of God. We are His
children, therefore we abide by those laws, and disobedience is not
This principle is all
through the Bible. Jacob said, we need to have a revival in our
family. I am the father, you have idols and I want you to get rid of all
your foreign gods. And they gave them to Jacob, and he buried them.
Jacob recognized that he could not have the blessing of God on his family while
some of them were worshipping idols. (See Genesis
Are Your Idols?
If there are
idols in your house, the Lord is not going to be able to bless you and your
family. If you are a father, you need to rid your house of
God made a covenant with
Abraham. “‘This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you
and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised;
and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a
sign of the covenant between Me and you.’” Genesis 17:10–11. This
was between God and all of Abraham’s descendants.
One of Abraham’s most famous
descendants was Moses. God called Moses to deliver Israel, but God could
not allow him to deliver Israel until Moses had straightened out some things in
his own house.
On his way to deliver
Israel, Exodus 4:24–26 tells us that the Lord met Moses and sought to kill
him. Why? You see, Zipporah had a horror of blood and suffering, so
she had not allowed Moses to circumcise their son. [Because Moses had
allowed this to continue, God could not let him go deliver the Children of
Israel until the problem in his house was corrected.] Then Zipporah took a
sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it at Moses’ feet.
So God let him go.
Following Divine Instructions?
Is your family
in order? Is the Lord going to be able to use you to defeat His enemies
and bring victory to His people? Not if your house is not in
Is your church in
order? Paul gives the necessary qualifications for a Bishop: “One who
rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence
(for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of
the church of God?).”
1 Timothy 3:4, 5.
There are Seventh-day
Adventist Churches and homes all over the world that are not in order, and we
need to do something about it! A deacon is a servant of the church.
That is what the Greek word diakonos means, and these are the
qualifications of servants of the church: “Their wives must be reverent, not
slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands
of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.” 1 Timothy
God is going to have an
orderly people, because they see it is the way God operates. If you really
love God, you will obey His commandments.
I recognize that, no matter
how humble, no matter how gentle, no matter how tactful you attempt to be,
occasions will arise when people in the family will rebel.
Ellen White says
if you decide to do what is right and walk with the Lord, you might have to walk
alone, like Enoch. (See the Youth’s Instructor, April 28, 1898.) I have often
pondered that statement, because Enoch was a married man who had children, yet,
she said he had to walk alone. I would rather be like Enoch and walk alone
than be like Eli!
When you attempt to follow
the instruction God has given to help your family come into order, you get in
big trouble, and so did Gideon.
When the men of the city
arose early in the morning, the altar of Baal was torn down; the wooden image
had been cut down, and the second bull was being offered on the altar which had
been built. When they found out Gideon had done it, they told Joash to
bring Gideon out to them so they could kill him. (See Judges
6:28–30.) He knew he was going to have trouble, so he did it secretly, at
When you attempt to follow
the Lord’s instructions, by getting the idols out of your house and bringing
your family into harmony with what God has said, you will be accused of being a
fanatic; an overbearing father; an unenlightened person, a hard taskmaster, and
all sorts of things.
And if you are an elder and
try to help your church come to order, you will be accused of all those things,
and more. People will accuse you of being unchristlike. When you
attempt to follow the instructions needed to get your family or church in order,
you will get in trouble, just like Gideon did.
Accusations Hurled Against the Reprover
People will say
the same things about you that they said about Gideon. “You have wronged
us. You are guilty. You have destroyed our property. You have
destroyed our religion. You are a blasphemer. Since you have wronged
us, you ought to be punished.” They will say, “You are too
severe. The least you could have done is let us have the idols and let us
get the market value out of them. You did not even allow us to recover our
And here is a real common
one: “You took away our power of choice. You did not even let us choose; you
have taken away our freedom.”
Let us just examine that for
a minute. Did Gideon take away their power of choice? Gideon did not
ask them if he could tear their idols down; the Lord told him to do it, and he
did it. So did he take away their power of choice? It might seem
like he did when you first look at it, but there is something you may have
We all make
agreements. When we get married, we make a holy, sacred and binding
agreement, and it involves contractual relations, covenant promises. These
people, who were so angry with Gideon, they and their forefathers had entered
into covenant promises with the Lord. (See Judges 6.)
Gideon was not taking away
their power of choice when he destroyed the idols. They had already
promised not to worship idols! The choice had already been made.
Those men had free choice, too. They could have decided to go back and
live in Egypt, where they could have worshipped all the idols they wanted.
They were free to separate from Israel and go back, but they had not. They
wanted to be part of Israel, and being part of Israel meant no idol worship.
I appeal to the men who are
reading this article to pray and ask the Lord if you are fulfilling your
obligations. It may seem like your family is rebellious now, but the
very people who seem rebellious now, can rise up in the Day of Judgment, your
wife and your children, and say, Why did you not enforce the law of God in our
Are the Leaders?
leadership today. We need men who will say, “In my house, we are going to
serve the Lord. We are going to live according to the Bible and the
writings of the Testimonies of God’s Spirit. That is the way we are going
to live here, because we have made a covenant to do that.” If you married
a woman who was a Seventh-day Adventist, she has already made that decision. You
are not asking anything unreasonable to say, “I want everybody in my family to
obey God’s Word and to obey the Spirit of Prophecy.” Let me tell you young
men, you better not marry somebody who has not made that decision, or you are in
Gideon was scared. I
do not know if you have ever been in that state of mind. I have been, many
times. Lord, I am so perplexed. You say do this, and I do not even know how to
get started. So Gideon asked the Lord for a sign, and the Lord gave him a sign,
but Gideon was still struggling to develop faith.
Lord, please do not be angry
with me, he said. Let me ask you for one more sign. (See
Judges 6:36–40.) Friends, with the situation in the world today and
what we are soon going to go through, if we do not develop faith like Gideon
had, we are not going to make it. You develop faith by proving His
promises, and you are not going to make it through the Time of Trouble without
Gideon decided to do what
the Lord told him to do. He issued a summons. He made some
enthusiastic, zealous, impassioned appeals, and his countrymen flocked to
him—all except the people from Ephraim. 32,000 men came. Even with
32,000 men the enemy outnumbered them about four to one!
Will be Victorious!
The Lord said,
You have too many people. (See Judges 7:2.) If this army goes out and
they gain the victory, they will decide they did it themselves.
Friends, God’s work is soon
going to be finished, and Gideon’s 300 are going to chase the enemies out of the
world. The victory is going to be won in a way so you and I will know that
we did not do it.
Gideon was astonished!
Lord, you know whom I am up against! God said, I want you to do what
Moses told you to do. Before you go to war, tell any man who is afraid to
So Gideon did what the Lord
told him to do, and with a heavy heart he watched 22,000 men go home. The
majority of his army left. (See Judges 7:3.) They went home because
of fear. Fear is a universal part of the human experience. Gideon
had been struggling with fear, that is why he asked for those signs. He
had received three signs so far, but he was going to receive more. God
knew he needed something to bolster his faith and courage.
One of these days, we will
find out what it is like to have the majority leave us. If you think that
we have been forsaken now, read Testimonies, vol. 5, 80, 81. When
the National Sunday Law is enforced, we are going to find out what it means to
have the great majority of those who call themselves Seventh-day Adventists
leave us. Why? Because of fear! If you are afraid, you are not going
to make it.
Want to be One of the 144,000?
I have been
aghast over the years when I have heard people say they hope that Jesus will
come soon so that they will not have to die. They have no idea at all what
they are talking about.
In the time of
trouble, the 144,000, if they could have the assurance that their sins
were forgiven, would not shrink from torture or death. If you are going to
be part of the 144,000, you are not going to be afraid of death or
During the Dark Ages they
had many forms of torture, and some of the most awful were some of the most
simple. In Inter-America, South America and in Europe they took men and
women and tied an iron strap around their waist so that they were anchored to a
big pillar. Another iron strap would be tied around their neck so that
their head was anchored, and another around their ankles so they could not
move. From above, they would drip a drop of water on their head.
They would let drop after
drop of water fall. It was called The Drip, one of the most
terrible forms of torture there is. Each hour they would turn the
hourglass, and by the time four or five hours had gone by, the nerves were so
irritated that every drop of water hitting their head felt like being pounded
with a hammer. By the time five or six hours had passed, they could
literally go insane, losing all their mental and physical functions.
When a prisoner was tied to
one of those pillars, they, and their tormentors, knew exactly what was going to
happen, and they knew what the consequence would be.
Those being tortured would
say, Lord, unless You help me and deliver me, I am sunk. And unless the Lord
helped them, the time would come when they would say anything and do anything to
be free from that bang, bang, bang on their head. The 144,000 are going to
be people who will not shrink from something like that.
How are you
going to overcome the problem of fear? As I read through the Bible, I find
that fear is the universal experience of a man who is alone. There is only
one Biblical solution to the problem of fear, and that is to have Jesus with you. If Jesus is
not with you, you are going to be afraid. If He is with you, you
will not be afraid. There is no human solution for fear.
Isaiah 41:10 has the solution. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not
dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will
uphold you with My righteous right hand.’” You do not need to be
afraid, because God says He is going to be with you.
There were several times
during Jesus’ life on earth when the disciples were afraid, until Jesus
came. For instance, the disciples were out on the Sea of Galilee and
they saw Jesus coming. They thought He was a spirit, and they were
terrified. “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good
cheer. It is I; do not be afraid.’” Matthew 14:27.
“Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.’”
Presence of Jesus Removes Fear
You see, it is
the presence of Jesus that will take away your fear. There is nothing else
that will do it. When we are faced with the kind of experiences that we
will be going through, there is no psychology, no human rationalization that can
deliver us from fear.
“Let your conduct be without
covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has
said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we may boldly say: ‘The
Lord is my Helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?’” Hebrews 13:5,
Gideon only had 10,000 men
left. The enemy outnumbered him twelve to one. The Lord comes to
tell him that he still has too many. The Lord said, We are going to put
the people to a test, and we are going to separate them into two
You and I are
being tested day by day. Most often, we do not even know it! These
people did not know that they were being tested. Very often we are tested
in every phase of life. One of the things that amazes me about God is how
He works through such simple things.
This was a simple
test. He said, Take your soldiers and bring them down to the water.
I am going to test them. The people who get down on their knees and drink
the water, put them all to one side. The people who walk down to the
water, bring it up with their hand and lap like a dog, you put them in another
group. So Gideon did that. (See Judges 7:4, 5.)
9,700 soldiers knelt down,
leaving only 300 who did not. The Lord said, Take the 300. (See
Verse 6.) This was such a great test of Gideon’s faith that the Lord knew
he needed some more special help. So the Lord told him, Go down to the
camp of the Midianites tonight and you will hear something.
When Gideon got down there,
he heard these soldiers talking about a dream one of them had. In his
dream a loaf of bread rolled down the mountain, hit a tent and destroyed it. The
other soldier said, That is the sword of the Lord and Gideon. The Lord has
given the Midianites into the hand of Gideon. When Gideon and his servant
heard that, Gideon said, the voice of God is speaking through those
Midianites. I know it. The Lord has delivered them into my hand, and
I am going to do what the Lord said to do, and we are going to do it now!
(See Verses 10–14.)
It is not enough to be
without fear. 10,000 were without fear. If you are going to go
through to the end, it is not enough to be fearless. What did those 300
men have that the others did not have?
event of life reveals character. One of the differences was that the
300 had a sense of
urgency. They said, God’s business has to be done now. It has to be
our number one priority!
Do you have a sense
of urgency? Would you be willing to go into the Time of Trouble right now,
or do you want to wait for another generation? What is really top priority
in your life? Do you think it is time to finish the work?
People write me, I believe
in The Great Controversy, but I do not believe it is time yet to do what
you are doing with it. I think we need to distribute The Desire of
Ages and Steps to Christ all over the world first. Well, when do you
think it will be time?
Others call, or write, “I am
opposed to these newspaper ads because I do not think we should do it
now.” Let me ask you, friend, when would you like the Loud Cry to
occur? Some future generation? Is that what you are waiting for?
You see, the difference
between the 300 and the others was the others were going to take their time to
get a big drink of water, but the 300 said, This is urgent. We will get a
little water on the way, but we are going now!
Long Must God Wait
How long is God
going to have to wait before there is a group of people who are willing to go
into battle now? Concerning this battle recorded in Judges 7 and 8, Ellen White wrote, “The most
complete system that men have ever devised, apart from the power and wisdom of
God, will prove a failure, while the most unpromising methods will succeed when
divinely appointed and entered upon with humility and faith.…He [God] is just as
willing to work with the efforts of His people now and to accomplish great
things through weak instrumentalities.” Patriarchs and Prophets,
I am so happy for that
statement. We are all weak, but the Lord said He is willing to work
through weak instrumentalities and to do mighty things. “If they would cherish
true humility, the Lord could do much more for His people.” Ibid., 553.
Although that is a comment on Gideon, it also includes us.
If I would be humble and
manifest faith, how much more would the Lord do? Mrs. White says
that most of the time, the Lord cannot do for us what He wants to do. (See
That I May Know Him, 227.)
You Not Want to Go Home?
Do you want your
family, your local church, the other churches in your sisterhood of churches, to
be in a condition where God can finish the work? I propose that we fast
and pray and ask the Lord to help us come into a spiritual condition so He can
do for us what He wants to do. What happened after this battle is going to
“No words can describe the
terror of the surrounding nations when they learned what simple means had
prevailed against the power of a bold, warlike people.” Patriarchs and
If God had done this through
30,000 people, they would not have felt such terror, but when those surrounding
nations heard that 300 people had defeated and destroyed an army of 120,000,
they knew that it was of God.
Character is What Counts!
What we are up
against is not humanly possible either. But that does not matter because
of the God we serve. You see, it is God’s work, and success does not
depend on numbers. It never has! God can deliver by few as well as
by many. It is the character that counts.
Sometimes when people have
decided to keep the Sabbath for the first time, it seems like they are all
alone; their family is against them; their employer is against them; their
friends are against them; everybody they know seems to be against them.
Many times I have told such people, “If you were the only person in the whole
world who was keeping the Sabbath, it would still be right, and you would still
be victorious. Study the story of Noah!”
We know from the story of
Gideon, that success does not depend on numbers, and we know that God is going
to finish His work in a way that is going to bring glory to Him, and not to
us. I want to have the character of the 300. I know that I am not
worthy, but it is not a matter of worth.
If you want to be part of
this little group, say, “Lord, help me to follow directions. Help me to
get my family and my church in order so You can work through us. Help us
to have faith and just follow directions so we can have this character
October 2001 Table of Contents