#155: The Reluctant Leader, A Mighty Man of Valor

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

God sometimes calls on the most unlikely people to lead His people. Never was that more true than with Gideon, the youngest son of a farmer whose family was the weakest of his tribe.

Gideon Reluctant Leader

If you want to read his story, you’ll find it in Judges 6-8.

In Gideon’s time, the people of Israel had become evil and God allowed the Midianites to oppress them. The Midianites would invade the land every harvest and steal all the crops and animals, leaving almost nothing for the Israelites to live on.

Gideon struggled to believe that God was calling on him to lead the Israelites, but eventually he came to trust God, he delivered the Israelites from the Midianites and went on to judge the Israelite nation for 40 years.

God Called Gideon

God called Gideon out of obscurity. Gideon was threshing wheat for his father when God reached out and tapped Gideon for a leadership assignment that changed his life. God told him He wanted him to lead the Israelite army.

God Commissioned Gideon

At first, Gideon didn’t believe God could possibly have meant to select him to lead an army since he was young, inexperienced, and from a family of farmers.

In answer to Gideon’s reluctance the Lord reassured him saying, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Gideon may not have thought of himself as a mighty warrior, but the Lord did!

God Developed Gideon

God didn’t send Gideon out to take on an army right away. First, the Lord told Gideon to go tear down the Asherah poles and the altar to Baal in his father’s house. So Gideon took ten of his servants out at night and did exactly what the Lord commanded. The townspeople were furious and wanted to kill Gideon, but his father defended him and changed his name to Jerubbaal, which means “Let Baal contend” (or let Baal fight for himself).

By obeying God’s command, Gideon proved himself worthy. When Gideon was allowed to test God with the fleece, he finally came to trust God completely, knowing that God would do exactly as He promised.

God Equipped Gideon

When it was time to go to battle God wanted to make sure everyone would know that the battle was His to win. Gideon had assembled an army of 32,000 to go up against a Midianite army that numbered over 130,000 men. God told Gideon to tell everyone who didn’t want to fight to go home. That left 10,000 men. God said that was still too many and he reduced Gideon’s army to 300 men. That’s over 400 Midianites to every one of Gideon’s men.

The right 300 men plus God were all that Gideon needed to ensure victory for the Israelites.

God Led Gideon

God made sure Gideon knew victory was his, by having Gideon sneak into the camp of the Midianites at night. There Gideon overheard a Midianite tell of a dream he had and the man with him interpreted the dream saying, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon, son of Joash, the Israelite. God has handed the entire Midianite camp over to him” (Judges 7:14)

Imagine how Gideon felt when he heard his enemies talking about him and how God was on his side against them!

Full of confidence Gideon returned to camp divided his men into three companies and attacked. The Midianites were so confused by the attack some killed each other while a remnant fled pursued by the Israelites. God led Gideon and the Israelite army of 300 and gave them victory over an army over 400 times their size!

God called Gideon from obscurity, not because of who he was, but because of who God knew he could be. God commissioned Gideon to do a specific work. He developed Gideon and equipped him with exactly the right men to go into battle. Finally, God, just as He promised, led Gideon into battle and brought them the victory.

Through His experience with God, Gideon’s faith grew and he came to fully trust the Word of God.

In the end, Gideon became the fifth judge over the nation of Israel where he guided the Israelites for 40 years. He even appears in the “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11:32 described as a man of faith who conquered nations and administered justice.

Join the Conversation

As always questions and comments are welcome. Have you been a reluctant leader like Gideon at some time in your life? If so, did you feel God’s call and His commissioning you to a specific work? Looking back, do you see God’s hand equipping you for the work, and leading you to complete the work He commissioned you to do?

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Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Allie Pape says:

    The story of Gideon is such an important lesson to remember. I know personally I go into situations God has called me into expecting Him to show up in grand gestures forgetting that God always sends me in to any situation equipped with exactly what I need. At the time it may not seem like I have enough but I have seen time and time again that He delivers above and beyond what I would have expected. Especially going into my last year of school and them stepping out into the “real world” this is definitely a lesson and reminder I want to carry with me throughout my life.

    • Ron says:

      Well said, Allie. Always remember, where God leads, God equips. No matter how big the obstacle that lies before us we can trust in Him!

  • Kassey Peck says:

    I have never read of heard of the story of Gideon. What I liked about this post was how to illustrated how God was involved with Gideon through the whole process. At some points in my life I have felt as though God was not present. Other times, I was not able to understand where God was guiding my life towards. There are also sometimes when I thought that God was punishing me, but in the end I was able to see how he was creating a new opportunity for me. I think the Gideon story serves as a reminder that God will call, prepare, equip, and guide me throughout my work.

    • Kassey Peck says:

      I meant I have never read or heard of the story of Gideon. What I liked about this post was how you illustrated how God was involved with Gideon through the whole process.

  • Tyler Kilpatrick says:

    I enjoyed your approach to the story of Gideon, it is not a very familiar story to me but I have heard it a few times. Where God calls a person who is somewhat of an underdog, to pursue his God given mission. At times when we lack confidence we have a tough time seeing ourselves as doing something beyond our imagination to glorify God’s kingdom. This is similar to that statement of trusting is his plan for my life, that I am not entirely sure what he has called me to do but he is leading me in the right direction.