In the tumultuous times of the Judges, the Israelites were no strangers to despair. They had strayed from God’s path, and their disobedience had led them into the clutches of their enemies, the Midianites. It was a dark period in their history, a time when hope in God’s promises seemed like a distant memory. But God, in his infinite wisdom, chose Gideon, the least among his family, to lead a rebellion against the oppressors.
Gideon’s story begins with a most improbable task. An angel of the Lord appears to him and declares, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12). But Gideon, seeing the dire circumstances of his people, responds with doubt and disbelief. He questions how the Lord could be with them when they are facing such hardship. The angel’s reply? “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14).
Here is the crux of the matter. God assigns Gideon an impossible task, not because he enjoys seeing his people struggle, but to draw them back to him in faith. God knows that when we face insurmountable odds in our moments of weakness, we are more likely to turn to him in trust and reliance.
Gideon, hesitant and uncertain, seeks confirmation from God. He presents a fleece before the Lord, asking for a miraculous sign. First, he asks that the fleece be wet while the ground around it remains dry. God obliges. But still unsure, Gideon asks for the opposite—a dry fleece surrounded by wet ground. Once again, God grants his request.
This exchange between Gideon and God showcases the depth of our Creator’s patience and grace. God understands our human frailty, need for reassurance, and desire for graspable signs. So he comes to where Gideon is, affirming his call and his promise to be with Gideon.
Gideon’s divine calling unfolds as he assembles an army of thousands to face the Midianites. But here’s the catch—God instructs Gideon to pare down his forces drastically. From thousands to hundreds to a mere three hundred men armed with trumpets and torches hidden inside clay jars. It is a laughable strategy in the eyes of the world, yet a testament to God’s penchant for making the impossible possible.
The victory of Gideon and his three hundred warriors isn’t just a military triumph; it’s a testament to the faithfulness of God.
On the eve of the battle, God speaks to Gideon, reassuring him once more: “Get up; the Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands” (Judges 7:9). In a twist that defies human logic, Gideon’s men encircle the camp, break their jars, and blow their trumpets. The Midianites, in their confusion and fear, turn on each other, killing each other, and the enemy is defeated. The victory of Gideon and his three hundred warriors isn’t just a military triumph; it’s a testament to the faithfulness of God. It’s a declaration that God’s promises are unwavering, even in the face of impossible odds. It’s a reminder that when God assigns us impossible tasks, He equips us with the strength and courage to carry them out.
Gideon’s calling didn’t end with this victory. He went on to judge Israel for forty years, and for a time, the land experienced peace. But it’s essential to note that Gideon’s faith was not without moments of doubt and fear. He was still a sinner in need of God’s grace and mercy, just like us. And just like us, in Gideon’s moments of weakness, God was still with him.
Through it all, Gideon learned to rely on God’s promises. God’s faithfulness gave faith to Gideon. He witnessed firsthand the faithfulness of the One who called him a “mighty warrior” when he felt anything but. He experienced the reality that God can and does accomplish the impossible through those who trust in him.
As we reflect on Gideon’s calling and life, we must recognize that we, too, are often faced with impossible tasks. We encounter situations that seem insurmountable, challenges that threaten to overwhelm us. But in those moments, we are encouraged by Gideon and all God’s saints to confess that our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the promise-keeper, the one who leads us through every trial.
God assigns us impossible tasks not to break us but to strengthen our trust in him. He desires that we turn from ourselves to him in trust and reliance, knowing that he is with us, even in the most hopeless of situations. Just as Gideon’s doubts were met with reassurance, so too can we find comfort in God’s unchanging promises.
When faced with the impossible, when the odds seem stacked against you, take a page from Gideon’s playbook. Trust in the Lord’s promises. Seek his guidance through prayer and submerge yourself in his Word for wisdom. Surround yourself with a community of believers who can provide support and encouragement. And remember, our God is the God of the impossible. All things are possible in him, and his promises will always hold true.