This is the story of two Gideons.
One of them lived in the mind of Gideon.
The other lived in the mind of God.
It is a story of encouragement.
David and Goliath were in the future.
Egypt and Moses were in the past.
Israel had no King. Judges ruled the land.
Midianite marauders pillaged the crops.
Gideon hid in a winepress, secretly threshing wheat.
A messenger of God appeared to him and said,
“The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
“Pardon me,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us,
why has all this happened? Where are all his wonders
that our ancestors told us about?”
The messenger repeated his encouragement.
He told Gideon to rise up and defend his nation.
Gideon replied, “How can I? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh,
and I am the least in my family.”
EXTREMELY SHORT VERSION:
Gideon was frightened.
He required a lot of encouragement.
(Frankly, I would have given up on him.)
Finally, he tore down the altar to an idol in the middle of the night.
The next day when the townsfolk figured out who had done it
and were going to kill Gideon, he said, “If that God is real,
let him defend himself. Let him kill me.”
The people bought the logic of his argument.
Gideon gathered some of his homeboys
and began to fight the Midianites.
They romped and stomped
the length and breadth of the land.
The final words of Chapter 7 say,
“They chased the Midianites.
And they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon.
He was by the Jordan River.”