The story of Gideon fleshes out the gospel like no other. Granted, all of the stories in the Bible point us to Jesus in some way, but Gideon’s is so remarkable that the writer of Hebrews mentions him as an example of faith so great that he didn’t even have time to put it all into words as he did with others named in the eleventh chapter! There’s a lot to discover in the life of Gideon, but I’m especially encouraged by our introduction to him in Judges 6:11-18. When God called him to be a warrior for the people of Israel, Gideon was just a normal guy doing work that normal guys do. This first encounter he had with God exemplifies the gospel in so many ways. See what God revealed about himself in each verse of this passage and then look at the corresponding gospel promises for us his children:

1.) Gideon was doing the mundane daily work he was used to doing, and unbeknownst to him, God was present. God came and was with him. (Verse 11- Now the angel of The Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites.) A gospel promise for us- God worked out his plan to save us long before we knew to look for him. Before creation, as a matter of fact. (Ephesians 1:3-4)

2.) At the right time, God made himself known and spoke identity into Gideon. “O mighty man of valor” was not a self-earned label; God just called him that. (Verse 12- And the angel of The Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”) A gospel promise for us – God speaks life into our souls. We didn’t have what it took to make ourselves alive, but God did – loads of mercy and love – and with it, He lifted us out of death to life in Christ. (Ephesians 2:4-5)

3.) Gideon’s response was doubt and skepticism, and he questioned what God was doing in the nation of Israel because of the terrible conditions. He lamented that things were not as he expected. (Verse 13- And Gideon said to him, “Please, sir, if The Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not The Lord bring us out of Egypt?’ But now The Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.”) A gospel promise for us – As an extension of His mercy, God plants faith in our hearts and is patient toward us as it grows, assuring us that His salvation withstands our wandering moments. (Mark 9:24; Matthew 14:28-32; 1 John 3:20; Hebrews 13:5b; Jude 24)

4.) The Lord gave attention to Gideon’s “why?” questions. Some versions say He looked at Gideon, but the Hebrew word suggests an actual turning toward him. It was an intentional display of attentiveness. As He turned toward Gideon, He charged him with a calling to save his people. He urged him to walk in this new identity he’d been given. (Verse 14- And The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”) A gospel promise for us – We are charged with a calling and given the power and desire to fulfill it. Our works do not save us, but they testify to the one work that has: the substitutionary atonement provided through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. (Ephesians 2:8-10; Titus 2:11-14)

5.) Gideon admitted his weakness and insufficiency. “How can I?” he asked. He described himself as the weakest, the least. (Verse 15- And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”) A gospel promise for us – we’re free to admit our weakness, to have our sin exposed, so that we can know and be transformed by the wonderful grace that covers it. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:15-16; 1 John 1:9)

6.) Instead of rebuking Gideon for admitting weakness and without attempting to pep-talk him out of his self-deprecating outlook, God gently assured him of His presence. In love, He answered Gideon’s self-focused question of “How?” with the only thing that ever answers that question correctly – God’s presence. That’s always where the power is. (Verse 16- And The Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”) A gospel promise for us – It is Christ that accomplishes anything at all good in or through us. We are the earthen vessels blessed to hold Christ our Treasure. (2 Corinthians 4:6-10; Jeremiah 9:23-24; 2 Corinthians 11:30)

7.) Gideon was drawn to know more – more of this God who spoke incredible things to him personally. He craved more assurances. It was early in the process, but his faith was beginning to slowly build. (Verse 17- And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me“) A gospel promise for us – Knowing and growing up in Jesus is a process, continual and miracle-filled. We hunger to know Him more because he has made himself known to us. (Isaiah 11:9; Ephesians 1:16-17; Colossians 1:9-10)

8.) Desiring to make an offering to God, Gideon begged God to wait for him – for His presence to never leave – and God waits. God demonstrated his mercy and patience, his willingness to wait on Gideon. (Verse 18- “…Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my present and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay until you return.”) A gospel promise for us – God’s patience suffers long, and He remains waiting as His merciful redemption plan unfolds in individual lives and in the entire world – before the earth eventually goes away. (2 Peter 3:9; Exodus 34:6; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Isaiah 30:18)

Living the Gospel Promises

Recognizing that the gospel promises that are life-giving to my soul are also sustaining my life every day, I pray for grace to say “yes” more. I want this part of Gideon’s story to be true of my life as well – that I learn the gospel promises by living them, going where He guides.