Jud 6:36-Faith And Family
Question: “Was the fleece a tool of discernment or just a sign of Gideon’s doubt and fear?”
Answer: I see in Gideon’s request more evidence of his doubt than faith, more proof of fear than a quest for discernment; but it will require a closer look to make a case either way. Gideon and the children of Israel found themselves in difficult circumstances, mostly of their own making. His first response was to question God’s faithfulness; much as we’re prone to do when faced with difficulties.
Next, he asked for an exemption based on the lowly status of his family. Gideon was not a blue blood, to the manner born. He had no heritage on which to draw, to convince anyone he could save the nation. He couldn’t reconcile why he should be chosen for significant service of any kind, let alone being the savior of the nation.
Gideon, like most believers, couldn‘t seem to picture being used of God even incidentally, let alone in any significant or lasting way. The problem is not in their heritage; the problem is not that they come from lowly stock, or from poor circumstances. The Bible is full of examples of people of lowly birth who rose to prominence in the land. In most cases, this was not due to any special trait or talent. It is most often attributable to the God they served. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts” (Zech. 4:6).
Just as Gideon’s focus was misplaced in emphasizing the problems of his people, over the presence of God, it was likewise misplaced in looking to his physical background for potential spiritual success.
William Carey, considered by many to be the father of modern missions, said, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” The significance of service, the lasting impact of ministry, the capacity to do great things for the cause of Christ: these are not traced to human ability. They are, without exception, tied to the greatness of the God we serve.
For us to focus on our blood line or place of birth or family history as a cause for our success, is to claim the credit for what God does, and what He alone can do. And just as we dare not claim credit for the success, we dare not look to any other source of strength than the power and calling of God for the task ahead.
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