Once again, Israel sinned and the consequences were pretty bad: “And the hand of Midian overpowered Israel, and because of Midian the people of Israel made for themselves the dens that are in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds” (6:2). The people had to run to the caves and hide in them! “And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the Lord” (6:6). And what did the Lord do? Once again, he was merciful and raised up a deliver, Gideon. This is a very different story, though.
We know the story of the destruction of the Baal altar and Gideon’s subsequent “putting out his fleece.” Gideon pleaded: “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (6:15). Gideon stands in a long line of weak folks who have alleged, “Lord, I cannot do this!” Think of Moses; the young shepherd boy, David; youthful Jeremiah; the disciples. Remember, “God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Corinthians 1:27)!
Be not dismayed, thou little flock,
Although the foe’s fierce battle shock
Loud on all sides, assail thee.
Though o’er thy fall they laugh secure,
Their triumph cannot long endure,
Let not thy courage fail thee.
Our hope is sure in Jesus’ might;
Against themselves the godless fight,
Themselves, not us, distressing;
Shame and contempt their lot shall be;
God is with us, with Him are we;
To us belongs His blessing. -- Michael Altenburg (17th century)