The story of Gideon, as laid out in Judges, provides a remarkable illustration of the life of a Christian. All begin as lost unbelievers but, once saved, are called to a life of victory in Christ. In a nutshell, this is the story described in Judges 6 through 8.
Chapter 6 begins by describing the state of the people of Israel, stating that they had done,
“…evil in the sight of the Lord,”
a statement that is also true of every unbeliever. It goes on to describe the Israelites as suffering at the hand of the Midianites and Amalekites; they destroyed Israel’s crops and left no nourishment. This relates to the world in which the unbeliever lives. That is, they can work as hard as possible, but there is ultimately no life to be found because they live in the presence of the enemy. At some point, the unbeliever, living in this place of oppression, chooses to seek truth as represented by the Israelites calling out to God in verses 6 and 7. What happens next? God hears the call and responds by revealing Himself through His Word. In both Judges and in life, God reveals Himself through His Word, be it through a prophet, as in verse 8, or through a pastor, teacher, stranger, friend, family member, a drama, a dream, scripture, or any number of other methods that He may choose to employ.
When God speaks in Judges 6, verses 9 and 10, He reminds the Israelites of His goodness and mercy in delivering them from Egypt, but He also points out that they have disobeyed His commands. Similarly, when God speaks to an unbeliever, He expresses His unfailing love while also pointing out their sin and need for a savior. It is at this moment that the unbeliever, with repentance and belief, is saved. In Judges, it is precisely at this point, in verse 11, that God makes Himself known to Gideon, or the man that He will use for Israel’s salvation.
Despite hearing the Word of God, Gideon is absorbed by his own shortcomings (aka humanity). He tells God that there’s no way that He can be the warrior that God is calling him to be, just as so many new Christians do not see or believe the greatness that God is calling them to in Him. At this point in Gideon’s story, in verses 18 and 19, he makes an important choice: he decides to worship God by providing an offering to which the Lord responds by sharing His virtue of peace. Likewise, when the new Christian humbles himself and offers sincere worship to the Lord, they are exposed to His character and their relationship with the Lord begins to develop.
As the relationship deepens, between God and both Gideon and the new believer, God begins to identify strongholds or idols that need to be torn down. In the case of the believer, it may be selfishness, pride, money, time, or any number of things that people so often place in a greater position than God. For Gideon, it was a physical idol of Baal that God commanded him to tear down. Starting in verse 27, the Bible describes Gideon’s obedience in tearing down this idol. This description of Gideon’s obedience is followed by a verse that explains all of the success and blessings that Gideon later experiences throughout chapters 7 and 8, and it also unlocks an important insight for today’s Christian.
Judges 6:34 begins,
“But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon…”
According to qbible.com
, the Hebrew word for came upon is “labash.” It means, “…to put on a garment or clothe oneself, or another, literally or figuratively.” This means that the Spirit of God clothed Himself with Gideon like a garment, or, in modern vernacular, Gideon became God’s man coat. This habitation of Gideon by the Spirit of God is why we see a sudden shift in his character. He continues to develop His relationship with the Lord, yes, as is supported by the exchange regarding the fleece, but he begins to demonstrate confidence, courage, leadership, and other qualities that are not a part of his character in chapter 6. It is this exchange of characteristics, due to the indwelling of the Spirit of the Lord, that leads to Gideon’s success throughout the remainder of his story. So to, today’s believer can only find victory
in life when they recognize that the God of the universe, the great I Am, the Master Builder, dwells inside them and literally wants to wear them each day. He wants to exchange His glorious traits, character, and royalty, for the very human versions that every believer walks in. As Paul wrote in Galations 2:20[AMP],
“…it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me…”