Man by nature is wrapped up in fears.
Gideon was no exception. The exceptional story of this somewhat ordinary man is the story of a man and his fears (Judges 6:33-7:18).
Though we fear external things (armies, circumstances) or what others may think, say, or do against us, the root of our fears is always internal – deeply rooted in the soil of our soul.
We ultimately exhibit an unbelievable proneness to fear the wrong things and a surprising propensity to fail to fear the right things. God is not trying to get us to stop fearing, but rather to fear the right things in the right ways.
Fear is always a response to something in our context. It always produces a reaction in us. So this matters because having the wrong kind of fear reaps devastating consequences in our lives.
In this narrative, Gideon was marked by the wrong kind of fear. He feared circumstances, enemies, his friends and family, failure to do God’s will – in short, Gideon was clothed with fear!
But before we judge Gideon too harshly, consider well the implications of those things in Gideon’s day. His country had been overrun by an enemy nation. His people and even his own family had bowed themselves to the gods of those enemies. They had been overpowered and ruthlessly pursued by these enemies and been brought “very low” because of the Midianites. Most frightening of all was that all of this had been brought upon them by God because of their unwillingness to fear Him.
A rejection of the right kind of fear had reduced the entire nation to a state of perpetual and immobilizing fear of the wrong thing.
Of the many lessons we can learn from a story like this, the first perhaps is this: either we fear God and follow Him passionately because of a grateful love for Him – or we live in fear because of the idols we fashion to take His place.
Either we fear God and keep His commandments or we live in fear when our idols fail to deliver us from the consequences of our reckless disregard of God’s Word and our unfaithfulness to Him.
So what about Gideon and his fears? Fortunately, fear is not the final word in this narrative. But that is for another post!