Midnight Vigil (Gideon - Part 2)
by DeAnna Brooks 9/27/2006 / Devotionals
…That same night the LORD said to him (Gideon)….
God never wastes anything! Not the opportunity to redeem our choices, nor the revelations of an element of His Godhood we had not seen before. Neither does God waste those precious times of our obedience. I don’t need to look beyond the words above to see that truth.
Gideon, a prisoner to his circumstances, a prisoner to the image of a God Gideon defines by those circumstances, suddenly finds himself confronted with GOD, showing Himself to be so much more. Jehovah, the God who IS with him; the God who reveals Himself as peace in a land, in a life, that knows anything but peace. And Gideon lays hold of this truth, takes it in to himself, uses it to define a clearer picture in His heart of the God he’s called to worship and obey. Without being told, Gideon proclaims the lesson heard and believed by building an altar he names The Lord Is Peace. And God takes Gideon, that same night, at his moment of confession, and stretches him…..spiritually…..stretches him in the arena of faith.
Immediately, with Gideon’s confession made, God calls him to act upon it. To tear down all the evidences around him of a faithless people. Not just in his own personal life. He is called to step beyond. God, not a God of compromise, will not share His place with other gods, other places of worship. They must be destroyed, torn down, all evidence of their existence removed.
If we see nothing else in the beginning of Gideon’s faith-walk, we learn the core of faith, of obedience. Faith is not passive, it’s active! It demands response. God having declared Himself with Gideon basically says to Gideon, “Now that you say you believe Me, prove it!” And God asks Gideon to start in his own house, in his own neighborhood. It was the perfect test for Gideon, and God knew it. For God knew what lay ahead in His plans for Gideon, and if Gideon couldn’t trust Him now, how could he ever face what lay down the road?
I love Gideon! Surrounded by Hebrews having forgotten God, having adapted to the ways of the world, fully embracing them, what God asked of Gideon could hardly have been more significant. Like Jesus, Gideon had to arrive at the point he could fully say, “Into your hands I commit my life. I trust You to be with me wherever You ask me to walk.” He believed, but I can just hear him saying, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
So Gideon obeyed, in the veil of the night!
Can’t you see it, that baby step? Faithful, but tottering. With each swing of faith’s axe, however, Gideon’s boldness grew. As the oxen’s throats were cut and the offerings, of self and blood, laid out before God, Gideon’s sense of God’s very presence with him grew stronger and stronger. That’s what obedience does.
Something tells me that until that night Gideon lived a life of timidity. The town’s people certainly didn’t fear him, for they didn’t hesitate to demand his death when they discovered his actions destroyed their idols. But his father, watching Gideon now, hearing what his son had done, realized something far more significant than toppled poles and broken altars had occurred during the hours of the night. His son stood before him, transformed. A new man with whom Baal, and all his minions of darkness, could not contend…a man the Spirit of the LORD had come upon.
The same, yesterday, today, and forever …. The LORD is Peace. His message has not changed, nor His promise. And the footprints of obedience yesterday wear the same shoe-leather today. Even if it begins with a tottering step in the cloak of the night, by the time the dawn appears, our footsteps will be bold and power-filled, for in obedience His presence remains with us. And we are transformed!
Having raised four children, I live now in Texas. Mostly my writing is a sojourn with God. I find myself ever planted in Eden, glorying in its abundant and rich communion with the Almighty. Or, I am looking back, with longing. And the sojourn continues.