Jerub-Baal (Gideon)

Intro

This morning we’re finally going to dive in to one of these mini biographies, one of the stories of these Judges that this book is all about. We’re going to spend a good amount of time this morning just reading the story, because I want us to get the whole picture of his life instead of focusing on just one  part of his story out of the context of the whole thing.

Jerubaal

It’s not the very first judge in the book, but he's one you may familiar with. He’s one of the most famous judges, very well known. You've know about the story of Jerub-Baal right? Classic hero! Most people who have been around church for a while, or read the Bible, have at least heard about Jerub-Baal a few times.

Ok, so “Jerubaal” isn’t really his more well-known name. He’s one of those Bible characters with two names. His other name is much more well known.

Gideon

It’s Gideon! Gideon is one of the most iconic, classic heroes of the Old Testament, and even if you aren’t super familiar with his story, chances are you’ve heard the name, or even been impacted unknowingly by his legacy. We’ll get to the name change in a little bit, but first:

The Gideons International

How many of you have ever seen one of those mass-produced bibles in the nightstand drawers in hotels? What do they always say, on the cover or on the inside on one of the first pages? Placed by the Gideons, or The Gideons International.

The Gideons International is an organization that was established in 1899, 120 years ago! And they have been distributing free Bibles since 1908. They distribute over 80 million scriptures every year, in 200 countries and over 100 languages, and they are still growing.

It’s a pretty cool organization! And I just think it’s interesting that they would choose to name themselves after this guy Gideon from the book of Judges. In fact, that may be one contributing reason as to why Gideon has become so iconic, with the Gideons being so influential.

Positioned as an important Judge

But even within scripture Gideon is positioned as one of the most important Judges. There are more words, or pages, dedicated to telling his story than that of any other judge, and Yahweh is shown as being very active in the story, more so, and with more frequency than with others. And what God did through Gideon is remembered and memorialized in scripture for generations to come.

However, with all that said, you’ll find that Gideon was still a deeply flawed individual, and really struggled to have faith in God, and there’s a lot we can learn from that. So this is exciting! It’s a rich story, and we have a lot to cover, so let’s go ahead and dive in!

Midianite Oppression

The story starts in Chapter 6 of Judges, so if you want to read along or take notes in your Bible, go ahead and turn to Judges chapter 6.

It starts off with just a little bit of backstory for context:

1 The Israelites did evil in the eyes of Yahweh. So Yahweh handed them over to the Midianites for seven years.

Remember, that very last verse of the book, Everyone did was right in their own eyes. We’ve already talked about how that was NOT a good thing, and how God has promised in advance that he would give them up to their enemies if they abandoned him! So, in this case, those enemies were the Midianites. And we get a pretty detailed description of what that looked like, starting in verse 2:

2 The Midianites were so cruel that the Israelites made hiding places for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds. 3 Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, marauders from Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east would attack Israel, 4 camping in the land and destroying crops as far away as Gaza. They left the Israelites with nothing to eat, taking all the sheep, goats, cattle, and donkeys. 5 These enemy hordes, coming with their livestock and tents, were as thick as locusts; they arrived on droves of camels too numerous to count. And they stayed until the land was stripped bare. 6 So Israel was reduced to starvation by the Midianites. Then the Israelites cried out to Yahweh for help.

So, it took them seven years of being completely overwhelmed and oppressed by this massive, destructive enemy horde, bringing them to the point of starvation before they turn back to God for help.

That phrase that they were “reduced” or “brought very low” or “made small” is the opposite of what God’s plan and promise was to Abraham to make his descendants great and numerous.

Israel Cries Out

So, they “cried out” to the Lord which is a phrase you’ll see a lot in Judges and throughout the Old Testament, and it’s usually when Israel is at its lowest, at its breaking point, and often it is accompanied by confession and repentance for their sin, as they become remorseful for betraying Yahweh. Now, it doesn’t say here that they necessarily repented, but at the very least they were humbled enough that they saw their need for God, realizing they couldn’t do things their own way and survive.

It’s part of the pattern we saw described in chapter 2, of God taking pity on his adulterous people, and delivering them again and again, only to have them return to their corrupt ways, and only get worse and worse. God knows all about this pattern, but he responds to them when they cry out to him anyway.

God Responds

In verse 7, we see God’s response:

7 When they cried out to Yahweh because of Midian, 8 Yahweh sent a prophet to the Israelites. He said, “This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. 9 I rescued you from the Egyptians and from all who oppressed you. I drove out your enemies and gave you their land. 10 I told you, ‘I am Yahweh your God. Do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you now live.’ But you have not listened to my voice.”

So, he responds FIRST by reminding them that he told them not to do what they’re doing, and that they brought this on themselves.

Gideon Chosen by Yahweh

But then in verse 11, we see Yahweh begin to provide his solution.

11 The angel of Yahweh came, and he sat under the oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash, the Abiezrite. His son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress in order to hide it from the Midianites. 12 Then the angel of Yahweh appeared to him and said: “Yahweh is with you, valiant warrior.”

Angel of the Lord

Now, the angel of Yahweh, or the angel of the Lord is a whole other topic that we’ll have to save for another day, but right now what’s important is that this character, this person talking to Gideon, is essentially facilitating a discussion between Gideon and Yahweh himself. In fact, later in this passage he’s referred to not as the angel of Yahweh, but simply as Yahweh. So this is, in some way, an appearance of God’s presence to Gideon. This is something that happens to a relative few and rare people throughout the Old Testament, and what he says to Gideon is pretty cool! “Yahweh is with you, valiant warrior.” I mean, that is quite the statement!

So, what’s Gideon’s response?

13 Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if Yahweh is with us, why has all this happened? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? They said, ‘Hasn’t Yahweh brought us out of Egypt?’ But now Yahweh has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.”

14 Then Yahweh turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!”

Excuse me, sir?

If we were to translate that phrase “please my lord” with a little more of a modern context, it would sound something like “excuse me, sir?” Which, at least to me, just sounds absolutely absurd in a conversation with God himself!

Excuse me, sir? If that’s true, if Yahweh is with us, why am I down here in a winepress, threshing wheat and hiding from our oppressors?

First of all, he ignores the fact that Yahweh is literally in front of him, and doesn’t even address himself, he goes to “us” as in Israel. If Yahweh is with us, why has all this happened. He’s saying “no, no, there’s no way Yahweh is anywhere in Israel, let alone with me!” And he blames God for everything that’s happening to them!

Clearly, Gideon is confused.  He doesn’t get it. And I just picture God saying the next part with a heavy sigh. He doesn’t really dignify Gideon’s faithless accusation by addressing it all, he just gives Gideon a command: “[sigh] Go…I am sending you.”

But STILL Gideon pushes back:

15 But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!”

16 Yahweh said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”

This kind of protesting from Gideon sounds familiar doesn’t it? When God called Moses to lead the Israelites out of slavery, a story Gideon should be familiar with, Moses argued that he just wasn’t good enough. And we see Gideon making a similar argument: “I can’t rescue Israel! I’m the weakest person in the weakest family in the weakest tribe of Israel! I don’t know why you’re calling me a mighty warrior, you’ve got the wrong guy!”

Let's just pause for a moment and recognize that we often have a tendency to repeat this same exact failure of faith in our own lives. But, if you find yourself doing that, just remember the absurdity of Gideon’s conversation with Yahweh, and NEVER let your own weaknesses, failures, and shortcomings allow you to doubt the power of God and his ability to use you however he sees fit.

Gideon says he’s not strong enough, and God is trying to tell him I am your strength. Go in that strength. I will be with you, and it’s going to be a piece of cake!

Prove it!

So Gideon says alright, alright, but let me make sure it’s really Yahweh I’m talking to first. He says:

17 If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really Yahweh speaking to me. 18 Don’t go away until I come back and bring my offering to you.”

He answered, “I will stay here until you return.”

19 Gideon hurried home. He cooked a young goat, and with a basket of flour he baked some bread without yeast. Then, carrying the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out and presented them to the angel, who was under the great tree.

20 The angel of God said to him, “Place the meat and the unleavened bread on this rock, and pour the broth over it.” And Gideon did as he was told. 21 Then the angel of Yahweh touched the meat and bread with the tip of the staff in his hand, and fire flamed up from the rock and consumed all he had brought. And the angel of Yahweh disappeared.

22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of Yahweh, he cried out, “Oh, Sovereign Yahweh, I’m doomed! I have seen the angel of Yahweh face to face!”

23 “It is all right,” Yahweh replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” 24 And Gideon built an altar to Yahweh there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “Yahweh is peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day.

So, Gideon is finally convinced, and I think realizes how stupid he’s been so far. And did you notice how, in verse 22 the angel of Yahweh disappears which means Gideon can no longer see him. But then, in verse 23, it says that Yahweh replies to Gideon saying “It’s all right. Do not be afraid.” So, clearly, and this is just reiterating exactly what Gideon was already told, but the Lord was with Gideon and speaking to him, even though he couldn’t see him.

Gideon’s First Task

Then Gideon gets his first task, in verse 25:

25 That night Yahweh said to Gideon, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one that is seven years old. Pull down your father’s altar to Baal, and cut down the Asherah pole standing beside it. 26 Then build an altar to Yahweh your God here on this hilltop sanctuary, laying the stones carefully. Sacrifice the bull as a burnt offering on the altar, using as fuel the wood of the Asherah pole you cut down.”

27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as Yahweh had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town.

28 Early the next morning, as the people of the town began to stir, someone discovered that the altar of Baal had been broken down and that the Asherah pole beside it had been cut down. In their place a new altar had been built, and on it were the remains of the bull that had been sacrificed. 29 The people said to each other, “Who did this?” And after asking around and making a careful search, they learned that it was Gideon, the son of Joash.

30 “Bring out your son,” the men of the town demanded of Joash. “He must die for destroying the altar of Baal and for cutting down the Asherah pole.”

31 But Joash shouted to the mob that confronted him, “Why are you defending Baal? Will you argue his case? Whoever pleads his case will be put to death by morning! If Baal truly is a god, let him defend himself and destroy the one who broke down his altar!” 32 From then on Gideon was called Jerub-baal, which means “Let Baal defend himself,” because he broke down Baal’s altar.

Alright, this is pretty awesome! Gideon is sort of starting to trust God…he does tear down his dad’s idols, though he does it at night because he’s afraid of the reaction he might get. So that tells me he’s not quite ready to trust Yahweh to protect him. But he still does it, and everyone does find out that Gideon, the son of Joash is responsible. And they DO want to kill him.

Let Baal Defend Himself

But Gideon’s dad stood up for him! Which I think is just really cool. Those were HIS idols, but clearly God was working on Joash’s heart too, because he realized how silly it was to defend Baal, a false god. And I just love his response that just kinda shuts down the town people’s argument “If Baal is so powerful, let him defend himself!” What a great response! And Gideon from that point on becomes known by this new name, almost a nickname, of “Let Baal Contend Against Him” or “Let Baal Defend Himself.” The implication being, that if Gideon should be killed for going against Baal, let Baal do it himself. So by referring to Gideon by that name “Jerubaal” it was a constant reminder that every day he was alive was another day that Baal was powerless to defend himself.

Gideon Tests Yahweh

War Preparations

Now, in verse 33 everyone gets ready for war.

33 Soon afterward the armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east formed an alliance against Israel and crossed the Jordan, camping in the valley of Jezreel. 34 Then the Spirit of Yahweh clothed Gideon with power. He blew a ram’s horn as a call to arms, and the men of the clan of Abiezer rallied behind him. 35 He also sent messengers throughout Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, summoning their warriors, and all of them responded.

So, the enemies of Israel formed an alliance and camped nearby, ready to fight. But The Holy Spirit “clothed” or “enveloped” Gideon, and he rallies his own alliance of, as we’ll see in a bit, over 30,000 men who are ready to follow him into battle. That’s a pretty significant transformation, from a fearful, unwilling weakling to leading a whole army. But the key factor in that transformation what the Spirit of God possessing Gideon before anything else was accomplished.

The same is true for any of us, if we are to accomplish anything for God’s kingdom, it will only happen through the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Gideon Doubts (Again)

Now, after all that, we get to verse 36, and Gideon STILL wants more proof of God’s hand in what’s about to happen.

36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, 37 prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” 38 And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water.

39 Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” 40 So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew.

I guess I can’t really blame Gideon for being scared; personally I can’t even begin to imagine how scary it would be to know you’re about to head into battle with some really brutal, cruel, and merciless enemies.

But God had shown himself to Gideon, and at this point in the story, you start to think that Gideon has come so far! But then he asks God TWICE to prove his power and willingness to rescue Israel. And, amazingly, God had the patience to play along and give him exactly the signs he asked for.

Another reason I can’t really be too hard on Gideon is because I know I’m really no better at trusting God. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with asking God to reveal his will to us, but how often do we, whether intentionally or unintentionally, put God to the test by looking for more signs, or proof, after we already know exactly what God wants us to do.

And how grateful we should be that God IS patient with us and puts up with us even when we struggle to have faith, and is willing to at times even “stoop to our level” so to speak, in order to prove himself to us. He does it, not because he has to, but for our own sake, so we learn to trust him.

Yahweh Teaches Israel

And that’s exactly what God continues to do, teaching Gideon, and through him, the rest of Israel, to put their faith in Yahweh. Let’s continue reading, now we’re to chapter 7:

1 So Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon) and his army got up early and went as far as the spring of Harod. The armies of Midian were camped north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 Yahweh said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength. 3 Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.’ ” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.

4 But Yahweh told Gideon, “There are still too many! Bring them down to the spring, and I will test them to determine who will go with you and who will not.” 5 When Gideon took his warriors down to the water, Yahweh told him, “Divide the men into two groups. In one group put all those who cup water in their hands and lap it up with their tongues like dogs. In the other group put all those who kneel down and drink with their mouths in the stream.” 6 Only 300 of the men drank from their hands. All the others got down on their knees and drank with their mouths in the stream.

7 Yahweh told Gideon, “With these 300 men I will rescue you and give you victory over the Midianites. Send all the others home.” 8 So Gideon collected the provisions and rams’ horns of the other warriors and sent them home. But he kept the 300 men with him.

The Midianite camp was in the valley just below Gideon.

So…Gideon has 32,000 men ready to fight, but God doesn’t want anyone boasting about saving themselves, he wants them to know for sure that when they succeed it’s only  because Yahweh’s fighting for them. So he lets anyone who’s scared go home, leaving 10,000 men, which is still too many, so he whittles it down even more with this sort of strange test of what method the men use to drink water. And that leaves Gideon with 300 men, less than one percent of what he started with! And God says “With these 300 men, I will rescue you.”

This reduction of Gideon’s army will not only allow God to demonstrate his power, it also challenges Gideon’s own faith and resolve to continue following and trusting Yahweh. And, in my opinion, after how much Gideon tested God, it only serves him right to kind off get a taste of his own medicine.

Gideon Leads Israel

Yet another sign

Let’s keep reading, now we’re at verse 9 of chapter 7:

9 That night Yahweh said, “Get up! Go down into the Midianite camp, for I have given you victory over them! 10 But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. 11 Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.”

So Gideon took Purah and went down to the edge of the enemy camp. 12 The armies of Midian, Amalek, and the people of the east had settled in the valley like a swarm of locusts. Their camels were like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count! 13 Gideon crept up just as a man was telling his companion about a dream. The man said, “I had this dream, and in my dream a loaf of barley bread came tumbling down into the Midianite camp. It hit a tent, turned it over, and knocked it flat!”

14 His companion answered, “Your dream can mean only one thing—God has given Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite, victory over Midian and all its allies!”

So, this time, God tells him what to do, and actually anticipates that Gideon will be too scared to attack without yet another sign, more confirmation. So he provides a sign, through a dream that one of their enemies had, and his companion interpreting and predicting Gideon’s victory. And apparently that was just what Gideon needed, as we see in verse 15:

15 When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship before Yahweh. Then he returned to the Israelite camp and shouted, “Get up! For Yahweh has given you victory over the Midianite hordes!”

The Climax

So he’s finally ready. And now we get to probably the most exciting part of the story. Let’s read how the battle plays out:

16 He divided the 300 men into three groups and gave each man a ram’s horn and a clay jar with a torch in it.

17 Then he said to them, “Keep your eyes on me. When I come to the edge of the camp, do just as I do. 18 As soon as I and those with me blow the rams’ horns, blow your horns, too, all around the entire camp, and shout, ‘For Yahweh and for Gideon!’ ”

19 It was just after midnight, after the changing of the guard, when Gideon and the 100 men with him reached the edge of the Midianite camp. Suddenly, they blew the rams’ horns and broke their clay jars. 20 Then all three groups blew their horns and broke their jars. They held the blazing torches in their left hands and the horns in their right hands, and they all shouted, “A sword for Yahweh and for Gideon!”

21 Each man stood at his position around the camp and watched as all the Midianites rushed around in a panic, shouting as they ran to escape. 22 When the 300 Israelites blew their rams’ horns, Yahweh caused the warriors in the camp to fight against each other with their swords. Those who were not killed fled to places far away.

There’s no mention of the Israelites even having swords or shields or spears, just a horn, a jar and a torch! And Yahweh caused their enemies to kill each other, causing confusion and chaos in their camp.

The rest of the chapter then details how Gideon called for other tribes to help pursue those who ran away, ultimately capturing and beheading the Midianite commanders.

This overwhelming victory become legendary! You’ll find references to it in Psalms and Isaiah, and the fact that Gideon’s army didn’t even have to fight…that just proved Yahweh’s role as the real reason for their big win.

Revenge/Rampage

After that, we get to chapter 8. I’m not going to read through the whole chapter, because we don’t really have time, and also there are a lot of names and places I don’t feel like trying to pronounce. However, some very interesting things happen in chapter 8. Gideon ends up going on sort of a rampage of revenge; he chases down the kings of Midian and kills them for killing his brothers, and in the meantime he killed all the men in one town, and humiliated all the elders in another, because they wouldn’t feed his army.

Golden Ephod

I do want to read one section in chapter 8. Skip down to verse 22. This is after all the victory and all the revenge has taken place.

22 Then the Israelites said to Gideon, “Be our ruler! You and your son and your grandson will be our rulers, for you have rescued us from Midian.”

23 But Gideon replied, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son. Yahweh will rule over you! 24 However, I do have one request—that each of you give me an earring from the plunder you collected from your fallen enemies.” (The enemies, being Ishmaelites, all wore gold earrings.)

25 “Gladly!” they replied. They spread out a cloak, and each one threw in a gold earring he had gathered from the plunder. 26 The weight of the gold earrings was forty-three pounds, not including the royal ornaments and pendants, the purple clothing worn by the kings of Midian, or the chains around the necks of their camels.

27 Gideon made a sacred ephod from the gold and put it in Ophrah, his hometown. But soon all the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping it, and it became a trap for Gideon and his family.

28 That is the story of how the people of Israel defeated Midian, which never recovered. Throughout the rest of Gideon’s lifetime—about forty years—there was peace in the land.

29 Then Gideon son of Joash returned home. 30 He had seventy sons born to him, for he had many wives. 31 He also had a concubine in Shechem, who gave birth to a son, whom he named Abimelech. 32 Gideon died when he was very old, and he was buried in the grave of his father, Joash, at Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer.

33 As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites prostituted themselves by worshiping the images of Baal, making Baal-berith their god. 34 They forgot Yahweh their God, who had rescued them from all their enemies surrounding them. 35 Nor did they show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-baal (that is, Gideon), despite all the good he had done for Israel.

On one hand, Gideon had the perfect response when the people wanted him to be their ruler! He said “I will not rule over you, nor will my son. Yahweh will rule over you!”

But then, he turns around and has a golden idol made, and takes the Midianite kings’ loot! So he’s pretty much acting like a king…all but putting on a crown and sitting on a throne while saying “I’m not a king.” Then he has “many wives” which is specifically prohibited for Israelite kings, in Deuteronomy 17:17, AND a Canaanite concubine, who’s son, by the way, was named “Abimelech” which means “my father is king.”

So, he tore down one idol of Baal and essentially made another one in its place. He killed the Midianite kings, and then essentially became a terribly corrupt king himself.

Nevertheless, while he was alive, Israel did enjoy peace, and he was allowed to live a long life. When you see people in the Old Testament being described as having lived a long life, leaving behind a lot of kids, that’s typically a way of saying that God blessed them. It’s the Old Testament's, more realistic version of “They lived happily ever after.” It’s the best ending to a person’s story you can hope for. So even though Gideon failed in many ways, his moments of faithfulness redeemed him, resulting in blessings for him, his family, and all of Israel.

But, of course, it didn’t last. As soon as he died, everything went back to being a total mess! It’s pretty tragic, but, we were warned in chapter 2 that this was exactly the pattern that would we could expect.

Conclusion

There are a lot of things we can learn from Gideon’s story. Overall, Gideon’s story: his strengths and weaknesses, life and death, it all points to the need for a permanent, perfect ruler, while giving a good example as to why earthly kings are not really the answer to that need. And you’ll see that pattern play out again and again once we do get to kings.

The underlying reason for this pattern, and this is something you can get from just about any story in the Bible, but that’s partly why it’s so important to grasp, is simply that People are corrupt. We are messy, and broken, and have a completely irrational tendency to cheat on God. We are completely hopeless on our own, without his guidance, leadership, power, and protection.

But despite Israel’s corruption, God delivered and blessed them greatly, through Gideon! And that says a lot about God’s character.

To me, the most important thing we can learn from the story of Gideon is what we learn about God. It’s a reminder that he is the ONLY permanent, perfect ruler, and that even though people turn away from God, he doesn’t give up on us. That’s how much he loves us! That’s exactly what Paul is talking about in Romans 5:6-8:

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. 7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. 8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

Doesn’t verse 6 sound a lot like what we’ve been reading in Judges? God intervening at just the right time and providing deliverance to an otherwise hopeless and sinful people? That’s the pattern you’ll find all throughout Judges, which just shows how incredible it is to have a permanent and perfect ruler and redeemer in Christ. We are so blessed to have a ruler far greater than Gideon!

When Jesus began preaching, it was about the good news of God’s kingdom coming to rule the whole earth, through him! And then he gave his spirit to us, allowing us to be ruled by grace instead of by sin. Again, back to Romans 5, this time starting in verse 20:

20 God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The story of Gideon shows us this God, Yahweh, who loves his people, wants to have a relationship with them, and is ridiculously patient with them!

He is willing to pursue you, to use you, and he wants to teach you about himself, and most of all he just wants you to trust him. Trust that he knows what’s best for you, and that he can protect you and provide for you, and love you, better than anyone else can.

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