God Encourage our Faith

God encourages our faith (Jdg. 7:9–15a)
The Lord wanted Gideon and his 300 men to attack the camp of Midian that night, but first He had to deal with the fear that still persisted in Gideon’s heart. God had already told Gideon three times that He would give Israel victory (6:14, 16; 7:7), and He had reassured him by giving him three special signs: fire from the rock (6:19–21), the wet fleece (6:36–38), and the dry fleece (6:39–40). After all this divine help, Gideon should have been strong in his faith, but such was not the case.
How grateful we should be that God understands us and doesn’t condemn us because we have doubts and fears! He keeps giving us wisdom and doesn’t scold us when we keep asking (James 1:5). Our great High Priest in heaven sympathizes with our weaknesses (Heb. 4:14–16) and keeps giving us more grace (James 4:6). God remembers that we’re only dust (Ps. 103:14) and flesh (78:39).
God encouraged Gideon’s faith in two ways.
God gave Gideon another promise (v. 9). The Lord told Gideon for the fourth time that He had delivered the Midianite host into his hand. (Note the tense of the verb, and see Josh. 6:2.) Although the battle must be fought, Israel had already won! The 300 men could attack the enemy host confident that Israel was the victor.
Some people have the idea that confident, courageous faith is a kind of religious arrogance, but just the opposite is true. Christians who believe God’s promises and see Him do great things are humbled to know that the God of the universe cares about them and is on their side. They claim no merit in their faith or honor from their victories. All the glory goes to the Lord because He did it all! It’s the unbelieving child of God who grieves the Lord and makes Him a liar (1 John 5:10).
Hope and love are important Christian virtues, but the Holy Spirit devoted an entire chapter in the New Testament—Hebrews 11—to the victories of faith won by ordinary people who dared to believe God and act upon His promises. It may be a cliche to some people, but the old formula is still true: “God says it—I believeit—that settles it!”
God gave Gideon another sign (vv. 10–14). It took courage for Gideon and his servant to move into enemy territory and get close enough to the Midianite camp to overhear the conversation of two soldiers. God had given one of the soldiers a dream, and that dream told Gideon that God would deliver the Midianites into his hand. The Lord had already told Gideon this fact, but now Gideon heard it from the lips of the enemy!
In the biblical record, you often find God communicating His truth through dreams. Among the believers He spoke to through dreams are Jacob (Gen. 28, 31), Joseph (Gen. 37), Solomon (1 Kings 3), Daniel (Dan. 7), and Joseph, the husband of Mary (Matt. 1:20–21; 2:13–22). But He also spoke to unbelievers this way, including Abimelech (Gen. 20), Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2, 4), Joseph’s fellow prisoners (Gen. 40), Pharaoh (Gen. 41), and Pilate’s wife (Matt. 27:19). However, we must not conclude from these examples that this is the Lord’s normal method of communicating with people or that we should seek His guidance in our dreams today. Dreams can be deceptive (Jer. 23:32; Zech. 10:2), and apart from divine instruction we can’t know the correct interpretation. The best way to get God’s guidance is through the Word of God, prayer, and sensitivity to the Spirit as we watch circumstances.
Since barley was a grain used primarily by poor people, the barley-cake image of Gideon and his army spoke of their weakness and humiliation. The picture is that of a stale hard cake that could roll like a wheel, not a complimentary comparison at all! The man who interpreted the dream had no idea that he was speaking God’s truth and encouraging God’s servant. Gideon didn’t mind being compared to a loaf of stale bread, for now he knew for sure that Israel would defeat the Midianites and deliver the land from bondage.
It’s significant that Gideon paused to worship the Lord before he did anything else. He was so overwhelmed by the Lord’s goodness and mercy that he fell on his face in submission and gratitude. Joshua did the same thing before taking the city of Jericho (Josh. 5:13–15), and it’s a good practice for us to follow today. Before we can be successful warriors, we must first become sincere worshipers.

Wiersbe, Warren W.: Be Available. Wheaton, IL : Victor Books, 1996, c1994 (An Old Testament Study), S. 62
  August 2018  
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