Today’s Scripture: Judges 6:1-40; 7:1-2
Fear is a natural emotion, but it needs to be controlled. If we let fear control us, we will become paralyzed. How do we control our fears? By continuing to move forward regardless of how or what we feel. Paralysis due to fear leads to unbelief.
During the time of Gideon, fear flooded the nation of Israel. They were living under the oppressive influence of the Midianites, and the Jews fled from their homes to hide in the mountains, caves, and any other shelter they could find. Even Gideon hid in a winepress where he threshed wheat. We might criticize him for hiding out, but at least he didn’t let fear paralyze him. He remained active despite his circumstances.
Gideon’s name means “great warrior.” When the angel found him in the winepress, he called him mighty warrior, expecting him to live up to his name. Then he moved the mighty warrior out of the winepress into the battle field. Gideon rallied the troops—32,000 in all. The Lord instructed him to reduce the numbers so no one could boast in their own strength. God said, “Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back” (Judg. 7:2). More than two-thirds returned home. He again instructed Gideon to select only those who remained alert while they drank water (see Judg. 7:5-6). Now they shrank from 10,000 to 300.
With the Lord, less is more. Fear may stop man, but it doesn’t stop God. He told Gideon, “If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp and listen to what [the Midianites] are saying” (Judg. 7:10). As he eavesdropped, Gideon discovered the truth: The Midianites were more afraid of the Israelites.
The mighty warrior, fought two simultaneous battles: His own internal struggle with fear and the fight he led against the oppressive enemy. The Lord didn’t wait until he conquered his fears before sending him to battle. He thrust him into the face of the enemy knowing that victory over the external enemy would end his internal fight.
Don’t let fear hold you hostage. Remain active, live up to your name, and believe the truth. God will empower you despite your fears.
- How does fear hold you hostage? If God has called you “more than a conquerer,” how can you live up to that name?