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Gideon:  Hero of Ineffectiveness
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins

Gideon was one of the Judges of Israel before they had a King.  He is sometimes lauded as one of the heroes of Israel.  But take another look at the story of Gideon.

Slow Starter
The Lord told Gideon to deliver Israel from Midian.  When the Lord's messenger came to him to call him to service, he just complained about the lack of miracles.  When the messenger told him God would use him to save Israel, he scoffed, asking, "What do I have to save Israel with?" The Lord assured him he would have the Lord.

After his first step of obedience he questioned the surety of God's promise.  He laid out a sheep fleece and put some conditions to the Lord.  When those conditions were met, he couldn't accept that definitive answer, but set up still another test for God.

Uncertain Leadership
He was weak, he could not make a decision.  He could not feel sure of the situation.  He could not trust that the Lord had really spoken.  He did not get the answer he wanted so he tried again.

The fleece was a way to get out of acting definitively.  To trip the Lord up, to confuse the signal.  But the Lord was consistent.  The Lord, patient with the faithless leader of his people, accepted the ridiculous conditions Gideon made.  He continued to calmly, patiently confirm his will.

Testing the Lord?
Do we have to test the Lord, as Gideon did? Or can we take him at His word, fulfill His command and boldly step forth on His promise?


Original version published in Focus on Communication Effectiveness, April 1993
Posted on the Jenkins Millennium Culture Centre 28 May 2002
Last edited 22 November 2007

Orville Boyd Jenkins, Ed.D., Ph.D.

Copyright © Orville Boyd Jenkins 1993, 2001, 2002
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use. Other rights reserved.
Email: orville@jenkins.nu    

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