So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD had commanded.
But he did it at night because he was afraid
of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town.
He knew what would happen if they found out who had done it.
Judges 6:17 nlt
I used to be really afraid to say what I believe out loud. Some days I’m still afraid. Fortunately for me, my fear is not that I will be executed or jailed for my faith. In my world, there’s another kind of terror – rejection and isolation. I fear that people will think I am weird or unintelligent or cheesy or judgmental or “holier-than-thou” which will ultimately render me unacceptable. Once someone gets put in the “socially unacceptable box,” I’m guessing it’s pretty impossible to get out of it.
Gideon, one of the Judges I wrote about last week, was afraid. He was called by God to be a leader and warrior for his people and his first response was to question and doubt that God did indeed want him. That was his second, third AND fourth response, as well. Finally, once he was certain that God wasn’t scared off by his [human] limitations, he was given his first assignment. God told Gideon to destroy his father’s alter to Baal – (a popular Canaanite god) and Asherah pole (a wooden pillar to honor Baal’s female consort – Asherah). Gideon was then supposed to build an alter to the true God on that spot and sacrifice his father’s bull on it, using the wood from the Asherah pole to burn the offering.
In our world today I think that would be equivalent to me destroying another country’s flag and putting up my county’s flag in it’s place using the mangled remains of the enemy’s destroyed flag and pole. Pretty strong statement, eh? That’s not even addressing the fact that Gideon had to do this to his own father’s property. I think it would take a ton of courage to carry out this mission. Here’s how Gideon responded:
“So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD had commanded. But he did it at night because he was afraid of the other members of his father’s household and the people of the town. He knew what would happen if they found out who had done it.” (Judges 6:27 nlt)
Even though he was afraid, he pressed on past the fear and did it. Even though he did it at night, he did it. Even though it could have been the end of his relationship with his whole family, he did it because he loved and feared God more. Gideon rocks!!!
I want to live every day with that kind of faith. Even if I am doing it hidden by the “night” of technology, I will speak with mercy and truth about the awesome God I serve and the grace I have been given.
Challenge: Every day, ask God to show me ways to INTENTIONALLY, boldly, and in spite of fear 1) love the Lord, my God, with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength and 2) love my neighbor as myself. No excuses. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Dear Lord, I am sorry for all the countless times that I haven’t given you praise because of my fear. I want to give you the glory and honor in all that I say and do. Help me to live my life as a testimony to your unending love and grace. Thank you for giving me the story of Gideon to encourage me when I feel afraid. Amen.