Gideon was a reluctant hero who was selected by God to lead Israel against the Midianites. He was a humble man who was afraid to take on such a task, but he obeyed God and led Israel to victory.
- Humility: Gideon was a humble man who did not think he was worthy of leading Israel. He was afraid of failure and he did not want to put himself in a position where he would be responsible for the lives of others. However, he obeyed God and he was willing to step up to the challenge.
- Obedience: Gideon was obedient to God, even when it was difficult. He followed God’s instructions, even when they didn’t make sense to him. He was willing to take risks and to trust God to lead him.
- Faith in God: Gideon had faith in God. He believed that God would help him to defeat the Midianites, even though the odds were stacked against him. He trusted God to give him the victory.
There are many things we can learn from Gideon’s story. We can learn the importance of humility, obedience, and faith in God. We can also learn that God can use anyone, no matter how unlikely, to accomplish His purposes.
Gideon: A Blueprint for Leadership
Lesson 1: Called to Greatness
God has called every believer to greatness. He has called every believer up in life. God will take us as far as we are willing to go. How far are you willing to go for God? We will see from the life and example of Gideon that God can take you where you could never go and make you what you could never be if you will only yield to and obey God!
Gideon became one of Israel’s 17 judges. During Gideon’s day, Israel had rebelled against the LORD again and was delivered into the hands of the Midianites. Their rebellion against God brought a threefold judgment upon them:
- Oppression: Occupation by their enemies, the Midianites and the Amalekites.
- Poverty: Failed agriculture and business, and abject poverty.
- Fear: Constant fear, which caused Israel to live like animals in caves, strongholds, and dens of the mountains.
When Israel got tired of living like this, they cried unto God. God began raising up a leader to answer their cry. His name was Gideon.
You Are the Leader God Is Raising Up to Answer Someone’s Cry!
A Promise from the Book of Judges
If God has called you to leadership, fear not. He has promised to be with you.
And when the LORD raised them up judges, then the LORD was with the judge, and delivered them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge: for it repented the LORD because of their groanings by reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them. Judges 2:18
The promise of God to His leaders is fourfold:
- God will raise you up. You don’t have to promote yourself.
- God will be with you.
- God will grant you success in your assignment.
- You will succeed all the days of your life.
The call to leadership, very often, comes out of nowhere when you are least expecting it. It is a sovereign act of God. One day you are busy about your work, the next day God is speaking to you about serving Him.
And there came an angel of the LORD, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. Judges 6:11
Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites. He was a nobody, just a farmer trying to survive. But God saw something in him that no one else saw. God called him to be a leader and to deliver Israel from the Midianites.
Gideon Threshing Wheat
Gideon was threshing wheat by the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. This tells us several things about the call to leadership:
- God knows where to find you. You cannot escape the call of God. He will find you no matter where you are or what you are doing.
- God’s calling will interrupt your plans. God is not interested in your plans for your life. He has a plan for you, and He will use you in ways that you never imagined.
- God looks to promote hard workers. Gideon was busy working. God does not promote the lazy.
- God needs you clean. Gideon was busy threshing wheat. This is symbolic of getting sin out of your life.
God’s calling is always bigger than what we can see. He will always address us by our faith.
- The angel of the LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. (Judges 6:12)
God sees in us the things we cannot see. The Bible is filled with similar examples:
- Gideon was called a “man of fearless courage” when he was yet hiding from the Midianites.
- Abraham was called the “father of many nations” when he had no children.
- Sarah was called a “noble woman” even when she mocked the LORD.
- Peter was called the “rock” even though he constantly crumbled.
Disbelief at the Call
Very few Christians will readily receive the call of God as Mary did, “be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). Even Gideon struggled with the call.
- And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. (Judges 6:13)
Gideon’s response to his divine calling reveals several things to us:
- “If God be for us, why has this happened?” Gideon did not hear clearly. God is with Gideon, not the people. Not yet.
- “Where are all the miracles?” Gideon had knowledge of God and His power. He was not ignorant of the promises or the testimonies of God, are you?
- Gideon had trouble processing God’s plan. Yes, things had been bad, but God was about to use him to turn things around. Can you believe that God wants to use you to turn things around?
The Calling Reiterated
God is faithful to continue speaking to you about what He has called you to do.
- God disregarded Gideon’s complaints and doubts about the past and repeated Gideon’s calling and empowerment: “Go! You are mighty! Deliver Israel!” You must forget the past and move on with God!
- God may call you to do the very thing you are scared to do or least equipped to do. Gideon was terrified of the Midianites. His calling: Destroy the Midianites.
- Our fears do not outrank God’s will and will not cause Him to change His mind. He will not change His plans to accommodate your fears or insecurities. He commands us to “FEAR NOT!”
- God declared, “Thou SHALT save Israel.” That is guaranteed success. Know that “Thou shalt succeed!” if you obey God.
A Common Response
Gideon’s response to his calling and appointment is very common, even today.
- He said unto him, “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.”
We learn much about Gideon’s inadequacies from this verse:
- Gideon was from the tribe of Manasseh. Manasseh was a very insignificant tribe at the time.
- Gideon’s family was poor.
- Gideon was the least of his family.
- In essence, Gideon was pointing out he was the last of the last of the last. How could God ever use him?
God Is No Fool
God does not make mistakes when He calls someone into leadership, and there is no talking Him out of what He wants.
- And the LORD said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man. Judges 6:16
This is the third exhortation spoken to Gideon to reassure him of the following promises from God:
- If God has called you, He has not made a mistake.
- If God has called you, He will not fail you.
What Does This Mean for You?
If God has called you to leadership, don’t be afraid. He is with you and He will not fail you. He will empower you to do what He has called you to do.
So, what are you waiting for? Step out in faith and obey God’s calling on your life!
Gideon was hesitant at first. He didn’t believe that he was capable of leading Israel. But God assured him that He would be with him. Gideon obeyed God and went on to defeat the Midianites, delivering Israel from their oppression.
The Blueprint for Leadership
The story of Gideon is a blueprint for leadership. It shows us that God calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things. It shows us that God is with us and will help us succeed if we are willing to obey Him.
If God has called you to leadership, don’t be afraid. He will be with you every step of the way. Step out in faith and trust Him to do great things through you.
Are you ready to answer God’s call to leadership?
God Has Not Called You to Fail
If God has called you to something, He has not called you to fail. He has called you to victory.
Don’t be afraid of the call of God. He will not lead you astray. He will not give you a task that you cannot accomplish. He will equip you with everything you need to succeed.
So, what are you waiting for? Step out in faith and obey God’s calling on your life. You are not appointed to failure, but to great victory in Jesus’ name!
Lesson 2: Make Sure Your Calling
In the previous lesson, we saw what it means to receive a call from God. Once you recognize the call of God upon your life, you must begin to act immediately. Never ignore the call of God upon your life.
- For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14)
Many are called but few are selected. Be forewarned—God calls many people to leadership, but only a few are actually promoted into leadership. Do not take the call of God to heaven with you!
Facts About God’s Calling
- Calling (kletoi) – To be invited. To be chosen. To be appointed.
- A calling is like an invitation—it is a great honor! Has God honored you by inviting you to lead His people?
- Just because you are invited does not mean you will answer the invitation.
- There are three main callings in the New Testament:
- Called out of darkness into God’s light. This is the new birth. God has called every human being to His son, the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Called to be a servant in the Kingdom. This calling is for every Christian.
- Called to full-time ministry leadership. This calling is not extended to every Christian. These are the fivefold ministers: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. These believers are twice called out.
- The call of God is His decision. We cannot call ourselves.
- You cannot qualify for a ministry calling. You are either called or you are not.
- Being called is no guarantee God will ever select you for leadership.
- Many Christians will never answer God’s call and, therefore, never come close to being selected.
Making Your Calling Sure
The Bible teaches us to make our calling sure. The word sure means to be enduring and guaranteed.
- Wherefore, brethren, give diligence [devote your attention, bend every effort, spare no effort, endeavor through ideal acts]: to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (2 Peter 1:10)
This verse reiterates the fact that there is a difference between your calling and your selection. We are commanded to make both our calling and election sure.
How Do We Make Our Calling Sure?
- Obey God’s Word. When we obey God’s Word, we are demonstrating our faith in Him and our willingness to follow Him. This is a key way to make our calling sure.
- Be faithful in the little things. God is not looking for perfection, but He is looking for faithfulness. When we are faithful in the little things, He can trust us with the big things.
- Be humble. A humble heart is a teachable heart. When we are humble, we are open to God’s leading and correction. This is essential for making our calling sure.
- Trust God. When we trust God, we are not afraid of the unknown. We know that He is in control and that He will never leave us or forsake us. This is the foundation of all true leadership.
If you are feeling called to leadership, I encourage you to make your calling sure. Obey God’s Word, be faithful in the little things, be humble, and trust God. If you do these things, you will be on your way to a fulfilling and successful leadership journey.
Gideon Proceeds With Caution
The first thing you must do when you believe you have been called to leadership is proceed with caution. We can learn from Judges how Gideon cautiously made sure his calling.
- Gideon wanted proof that he was accurately hearing from heaven. Gideon wanted confirmation. He did not run off and form an army the same day the angel spoke to him.
- We should also seek confirmation when we believe we have heard from God. Here are a few ways we can make sure our calling:
- Believe not every spirit, but test them (1 John 4:1).
- There are many voices in the earth. Be cautious (1 Corinthians 14:10).
- Submit to those over you. Every leader needs a pastor (Hebrews 13:17).
- Walk patiently. Haste is the Father of folly (Proverbs 19:2).
Gideon’s Plan to Make Sure His Calling
Gideon devised a plan of action to prove his calling.
- Depart not hence, I pray thee, until I come unto thee, and bring forth my present, and set it before thee. And he said, I will tarry until thou come again. Judges 6:18
- The angel, who we know to be the LORD Jesus, promised Gideon that He would wait for him. Be encouraged, Jesus is very patient. He wants you to prove Him.
- Established leaders—be patient in helping young leaders prove their calling. Don’t berate them for their inexperience or ignorance. You are called to help them.
- Gideon was called to leadership, yet he provides a present for the angel. Too often in this greedy day, people feel called and then demand someone bring them a present.
- What is your present for Jesus? Will you set it before Jesus as Gideon did?
Gideon’s Present—A Season of Serving
Gideon’s present to the angel was his way of proving the calling he had just received. His present to the angel represents Christian service and servitude. Every calling in Christ is rooted in servitude. If you cannot serve, you cannot lead.
- And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah [22 lbs.] of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it unto him under the oak, and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Judges 6:19,20
Gideon demonstrated he was a servant by preparing this offering. Much can be learned from this passage:
- We must be willing to serve others, even when we are called to leadership.
- We must be willing to give up our own desires for the sake of others.
- We must be willing to be put to the test by God.
If you are called to leadership, be sure to proceed with caution. Be willing to serve others, be willing to give up your own desires, and be willing to be put to the test by God. If you do these things, you will be well on your way to a successful leadership journey.
Gideon’s offering represented a season of servitude. Every leader must expect to be proven by God in a lengthy season of servitude. Leadership begins with followship.
- Part of proving your calling includes an intense season of being a servant.
- Gideon’s offering took many hours to prepare.
- This time of proving his calling was very costly to Gideon.
- Gideon was commanded to pour out the broth. This was a libation offering, an offering that represented the fruits of the worshipper’s labor. Do you have anything that proves you have labored for God? The libation offering was also a promise of eventual victory.
- Gideon took this time to humble himself and serve someone mightier than him to prove his calling.
The LORD Accepts Gideon’s Offering
Gideon prepared his offering in order to prove his calling. He wanted to know if the LORD would really accept him by accepting his offering. Don’t forget Cain was rejected because of his offering (Genesis 4:7).
- Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. Judges 6:21
Gideon’s offering is supernaturally accepted. This was the confirmation Gideon was looking for. Your offering will be Christian servitude. Will God accept your service? Here are ways we can insure that our offering will be accepted:
- Make yourself a servant to all (1 Corinthians 9:19).
- Serve joyfully, as unto the LORD, not as a man-pleaser (Colossians 3:23).
- Serve with all of your might (Ecclesiastes 9:10).
- Endure hardship like a good soldier for Christ (2 Timothy 2:3).
- Learn to be faithful with delegated authority (Matthew 8:9).
- Witness the fire of God in your life as the confirmation that God’s hand is upon you.
Gideon Acknowledges the Calling
When Gideon realized the severity of the LORD’s calling on his life and that God Himself was speaking with him, he became very frightened. We too, should have a healthy amount of fear for the calling of God.
- And the LORD said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die. Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Judges 6:23,24
Gideon was afraid, but he acknowledged the calling of God. He built an altar and called it Jehovah-shalom, which means “The LORD is peace.” Gideon knew that even though the calling was daunting, he could do it with God’s help.
We can learn several things from Gideon’s altar:
- By building an altar to Jehovah God, Gideon was declaring his allegiance to serving Him.
- Building an altar in Gideon’s day would be the equivalent of dedicating your entire life to God.
- This type of Old Testament altar was a monument erected at the time and place where the individual gave their heart to God.
- This altar represents Gideon answering the call of God on his life.
- Gideon called the altar Jehovah-shalom: The LORD send peace. In obeying God, Gideon found peace in time of turmoil.
- The only place we can find perfect peace is in the center of God’s perfect will for our lives.
- Don’t run from God! Embrace the call of God and receive the peace of God!
Gideon’s story is a reminder that God can use anyone, no matter how unlikely, to accomplish His purposes. If we are willing to humble ourselves, obey God, and trust in Him, He can use us to make a difference in the world.