Gideon was a judge in Israel. In a world weaned on the idea that success comes to those who believe in themselves, Gideon is a welcome misfit. Believing in himself—or even in the power of God for that matter—seemed virtually foreign to Gideon before God used him to do great things.
During a time when the Midianites were oppressing God’s people, the Lord appeared to Gideon and told him to rescue His people—but Gideon responded pessimistically with,
“How can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15 ESV).
When the Lord told him to tear down his father’s pagan altar, Gideon did so—but at night out of fear of his family and the townspeople. As Gideon prepared to fight the Midianites, he asked God two different times to send a sign to confirm that this was His will (Judges 6:34–40).
Even with Gideon’s rather meek display of faith, however, God used him to rout the Midianites. And apparently in the process, God wanted to teach Gideon a lesson in faith—because He whittled Gideon’s army down from thirty-two thousand to three hundred before the battle took place.
In the end, Israel was rescued from the Midianites, and Gideon became a judge over the people for the rest of his life.
Gideon is living proof that it is not the greatness of our faith that makes the difference but the greatness of the One in whom we have faith. Likewise, Jesus once said,
“If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).