The following is from my booklet, “Crack Pots and Dogs”
Gideon was a judge of Israel, whom God raised up to deliver His people when the Midianites were raiding and oppressing them (Judges 6:1-6). Gideon began his ministry by demolishing an altar of Baal and hewing down an Asherah pole (Judges 6:28). When this deed was discovered, the men of the town surrounded Gideon’s house and demanded that his father hand him over to be put to death (Judges 6:30). That same day, the Midianites, Amalekites, and others formed a massive army and crossed the Jordan to attack the Israelites (Judges 6:33). Talk about stress!
Not the military type, Gideon described himself as a weak man (Judges 6:15). How could he save Israel? Many of us know how it feels to face an army of pressures, responsibilities, needs, and problems. As difficulties pile up, what strength we thought we had shrivels, and everything within wants to sound a retreat. But Judges 6:34 says, “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him.” Gideon also summoned others throughout Israel (Judges 6:35).
We also have a trumpet powered by the lungs of God’s Spirit—the gospel. The good news is this: we do not preach ourselves. We may be the least in the family, the weakest sheep. We may feel more like Custer than a Christian. But we do not preach ourselves. We preach Jesus Christ as Lord—Lord of our inadequacy, Lord of the pressures camped against us, Lord of creation in which a sparrow cannot fall without his leave (Matt. 10:29).
The trumpet-call of God’s Spirit emboldened Gideon. He did something that, quite frankly, made him look like a crack-pot: Rather than try to escape Midian or just sit by waiting for their hammer to fall, he led a preemptive strike against them (Judges 7:8, 9). Gospel or no, this is not our idea of a good time. Deliberately place ourselves in close proximity to stresses, situations beyond our skill, and strain? Thank you, NO. Yet this is where we end up if we answer the call of the gospel—if Jesus is truly Lord as the gospel declares. But why would Jesus lead us to a place where He is the rock and an army of difficult circumstances is the hard place?
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Cor. 4:6-9).