New Hope Notes

Gideon: Trusting God Against All Odds
Heroes...Who Bring Hope

Pastor Elwin Ahu
March 2, 2008 - W0809

The Bible promises that we Christians are saved and redeemed and that we mean everything to God. But do we really believe that?  We get hit with traumatic events and huge obstacles. Often, though we say we believe, we revert back to negative thinking and doubting God, especially when times are really bad.


It reminds me of how fathers are great leaders and courageous challenge solvers. They do great things, are CEO’s and generals but there is one challenge that they cannot get over; changing diapers! They make every excuse to not do it!


Likewise, we face obstacles that are insurmountable in our eyes. We become frustrated and desperate. It could be financial trouble. It could be marital or poor health. We end up in the pits of life. So we avoid challenges and live the rest of our lives in defeat.


But today we have invited a guest speaker from the Hebrew Hall of Fame to teach us about trusting God against all odds.  He is a champion of the underdog. He is Gideon who delivered the Israelites from the Midianites. He was so popular that the people pleaded with him to rule over them. The story of Gideon is told in the Book of Judges which tells of a very low point in Israel’s history in which the Israelites were repeatedly sinning and disobedient against God. God would repeatedly raise up a judge to bring the people back in line but then they would go back and sin again. The Israelites failed to destroy their enemies as directed by God and the Midianites were especially terrible enemies that Israel could not defeat for 7 years. The Israelites were reduced to hiding in caves. They prayed to God for deliverance and God sent an angel to recruit Gideon. As the Bible says, “Then the angel of the Lord came and sat under the oak that … belonged to Joash … as his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said … ‘The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior.’”


The angel actually first found Gideon hiding from the Midianites. He was not your usual expected hero. Gideon was full of fear and defeat. I think we have all felt like that at some point in our lives. We find ourselves in a spiritual pit, maybe financial ruin or a failing marriage. Try as we might we cannot seem to get ourselves out of our miserable situation.


Gideon was shocked that the Lord had wanted him to lead the Israelites. After all, he had not thought of himself as anything near being a hero. His reaction tells a lot about who we are as human beings because often when God calls us forward we also question Him. Gideon asked, “’O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about … but now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.’ The Lord looked at him and said, ‘Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?’” (Judges 6:13-14)


Gideon was voicing his doubts to God and asking where was He before? This is similar to all of us at some point in our lives where we complain that our prayers are met with silence and we wonder why should we believe when God does not seem to be helping. We all come to various times in our lives when we question God, ourselves and our own competence. Gideon also voiced his doubts to God.  The Bible continues, “He said to Him, ‘O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man’” (Judges 6:15-16). Our human tendency is to ask these questions. We doubt more than we have Faith.


But God did not answer Gideon’s question directly. He simply told Gideon to get moving. I love that God sees us as who we can be and not as we are. Remember …




We limit our potential when we base ourselves on our past. God saw potential in Moses and many others to lead the Israelites at various points in history. Jesus saw the potential in lowly fishermen as His disciples rather than choosing religious scholars. God is the master of taking the ordinary and transforming it into the extraordinary. Too often we get stuck seeing ourselves as we are rather than who we can be.


I am so glad that my five year old son Jared has a baseball coach that saw his potential from the beginning rather than what he was. At an early in the season practice, the coach explained to the little boys where all the bases were and then told them to go to first base and most of them scattered in all directions.  When he tried again, they still scattered in all directions! But the coach did not give up on them. He continued to believe in their potential.  And today I am proud to brag that Jared got two hits and scored two runs in his last game!

God does the same with us. He sees our potential. When He calls on us to do something, He is saying that He believes in us so get up and go do it! We should remember to believe in our potential but we also must remember that whatever we do, we have to do it in God’s way.




God told Gideon that he needed to get his own house in order first before he could begin God’s challenge. Gideon’s father had been worshipping idols so God told Gideon, “[Pull] down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it” (Judges 6:25). God is in effect telling us that we have to take care of business at home and train in God’s ways before we go out and try to do God’s work out in the world. It is first things first.


·         IT BEGINS AT HOME.


You cannot expect simply go to church and then all your problems will be solved. You must prepare yourself for God’s work. You must do first things first. You must train before a marathon. If you want to win race, have a good marriage or succeed in business you have to build the foundation first. You have to train yourself in the ways of God, first.


Ask yourself, what stands in the way of your doing God’s work? Is it unresolved sin? Anger issues? Whatever it is, I encourage you to do your daily devotions without fail because God will speak to you through your devotions and you will find your answers.




Gideon felt ready with 32000 men but God told him that that was too many and so the ones that had fear should leave. Then he was down to 10,000 men.  God still said it was too much so then Gideon was down to 300 men. “He divided the 300 men … and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. He said to them, ‘Look at me and do likewise. … When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets all around the camp and say, “For the Lord and for Gideon”” (Judges 7:16-18).


How in the world could anyone imagine attacking 135,000 warriors with only 300? And the 300 only had pitchers and horns! Gideon’s “army” would seem to be incapable of intimidating anyone! But here is the lesson from God: when facing your biggest challenge, you do not need perfect conditions.


Too many times we tell ourselves to wait for the perfect conditions before we take up a challenge. But there will never be perfect conditions.  We will never have enough money, the perfect spouse or the perfect job. We will never have enough to perfectly attack the challenge because that is not what is needed in order to prevail. God often is not trying to change your circumstances. He wants to change your heart. Once you trust God, then it is the Lord that is solving the problem for you.


The 135,000 Midianite warriors were not afraid of the 300 Israelites. They were afraid of the power of the one living God! So you have to put your trust in God when faced with a big challenge, not in your circumstances. When we are weak, God is strong.




Gideon trusted God and His instructions and obeyed. “When they blew 300 trumpets, the Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the whole army; and the army fled …” (Judges 7:22). In the darkest and the confusion produced by the many lights and blasting of the trumpets, which seemed to be coming from a much larger army, the Midianites began attacking each other and eventually retreated. Gideon did not need the sword.  He only needed the Lord. God will turn things to good for those who trust in Him. The Lord does not always call the equipped but He will always equip those He calls.


Life is unfair. It will challenge us and we will not know hot to handle life at times but we have to trust in the Lord that He will see us through.


God is like a master chef. He can take ordinary ingredients and make them into a special and delicious gourmet meal. The master chef can take a small shrimp that scavenges off the rubbish at the bottom of the sea, an insignificant scallop and an ordinary fish but when he’s through with them, you have a broke da mouth plate special! When you allow yourself to be used for God, He will create a miracle out of your life. Sometimes we will have doubts about our future and we will get hesitant. Especially in those times, we should remember to put ourselves in God’s hands, anyway. Let God control your life and life becomes easy (in a spiritual sense). If you find yourself wondering where to turn, you need turn in only one direction – toward God.


Not by our own strength, but by His spirit will we overcome.


Your future is not determined by your circumstances or defined by your past; it is based on your potential and faith in God. God is willing to work for you, if you are willing to work for God. But working for God begins at home. You have to prepare yourself in God’s ways first. It also requires risk and obedience to God. But ultimately, trusting God allows Him to create a Miracle out of your mess.





1.      Other than potential, what other things determine your Christian future?

2.      What happened when you were too focused on your circumstances?

3.      Why doesn’t the Lord answer Gideon’s or our questions directly?

4.      How has God worked for you, when you were willing to work for Him?

5.      Why do you think there were still obstacles, even when you were working for Him?

6.      How could you put your house more in order before God?

7.      What are you risking in your work for God?

8.      What miracle has God created out of your mess?

9.      What happened when you did not prepare yourself for God’s challenge?