Gideon was called to lead the Israelite people out of bondage to the Midianites. Gideon was a reluctant leader. He doubted God’s goodness. He said, “Why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:13)
He doubted God’s presence. He said, “The Lord has forsaken us.” (vs. 13) He doubted himself. He said, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” (vs. 15)
In addition to his doubt, Gideon asked for a sign and threw a fleece, to verify God’s call. He said, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said—look, I shall put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor.” (vs. 36-37) He asked for an answer, as he lay the fleece on the ground. This happened twice. He asked that it lay on the ground overnight. One time he prayed that the fleece would be dry in the morning. One time he prayed that the fleece would be wet in the morning. These two episodes were merely extensions of his doubt.
Despite Gideon’s flaws God used him. “Thus, Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted their heads no more. And the country was quiet for forty years in the days of Gideon.” (vs. 8:28) I believe you would agree, God showed grace with Gideon.
This brings me to today. Has not God been gracious to you, as He has with me? I was sixteen when God called me to preach. I struggled with that call and ran in the opposite direction for five years. God graciously loved me into the center of His will.
Also, since the day I entered the ministry, as a vocation, God has been gracious to me. Have we not doubted God at times? Have we not failed God, at times? I remember an occasion when God clearly instructed me to share a word of faith with a gentleman. I had finished a visit in a local hospital and was in a hurry. The man was standing at the door of the hospital. I passed him by. My hurry caused me to miss God’s appointment that day.
This example is one example from my life. All of you have experiences when you missed God or disobeyed a clear command. I am not seeking to magnify our failures. I am seeking to magnify the marvelous grace of God. I close with the chorus from that wonderful old hymn.
Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea
Higher than the mountain sparkling like a fountain
All-sufficient grace for even me
Broader than the scope of my transgressions
Greater far than all my sin and shame
O magnify the precious name of Jesus
Praise His name,