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Gideon The Unlikely Warrior

Pastor Tom Ascol continues in his series in the book of Judges with “Gideon: The Unlikely Warrior,” Judges 6:1-40. Again the cycle of turning from God, God’s discipline, the people crying for deliverance, and God’s rescue is evident in this passage. Implied in this cycle is the need for believers today to ensure they are teaching their children the necessity to be true to God. Each generation, unless it is nurtured, protected and carefully taught runs the risk of being like Israel and falling away from the one true God.

In today’s passage God’s judge is Gideon. In this story truths exist that we can apply to our lives. God deals faithfully with His people, even if that means disciplining them in order to correct their evil. Giving Israel over to Midian was meant to show Israel God was a jealous God. He was unsatisfied with Israel’s compromise with the God’s of the neighboring nations. He alone is God and He demands true worship of Him alone. This calls us to identify and forsake idols in our lives. Further, merely crying out to God for deliverance is not enough. God sent a prophet to warn the people encouraging true repentance, not just worldly regret. The people were grieved over the loss of crops and livestock to Midian. They were not grieved over their loss of relationship with God. Regret focuses on ourselves and our desires; repentance focuses God and His desires. We can also apply the truth of God’s calling to Gideon. God identified Gideon as a mighty man of valor, a description completely different from Gideon’s self-appraisal. But where God call God also enables. He enabled Gideon for his calling; He will enable us for our calling and in fact already has. For instance He has made us spiritually alive, given us the Spirit, guaranteed us eternal life, and more. Most of all, just as God promised to “be with you” in v. 16 so He similarly promises us. Finally Gideon’s obedience to God forced the people to face the issue of their half-hearted devotion. Striking down the idols in his town caused a confrontation. Yet God used this confrontation, through Gideon’s father, to make the people realize Baal’s inadequacies. A life lived for God shows the world their own need for a rescuer, a Savior.

On the other hand, while Gideon’s use of the fleece shows he was attempting to understand God’s will it does not necessarily mean the use of a “fleece” is appropriate for modern followers of God. We have at our disposal the whole of Scripture, the indwelling Spirit, and the counsel of other believers, all absent from Gideon’s situation. Now we need neither epiphanies or fleece for we have God in the flesh, Jesus Christ.

Just as God was the ultimate rescuer for Israel so God, in Jesus Christ, is the ultimate rescuer for people today. Knowing God better can be done only through a relationship with the Savior of mankind Who bids you come to Him even today. He is faithful.

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist ConventionTraditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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