Turns out I am a lot like Gideon.
As our growth group works its way through Judges, Gideon came on the radar screen recently in chapters 6-8. I was mega-encouraged by an insight I hadn’t seen before. God takes great pains to bring confirmation to Gideon as to His direction for him as a warrior against Midian, Israel’s oppressor.
Gideon, to say the least, stands in Scripture as a reluctant conscript for God’s purposes. He pleads a poor self-image in Judges 6:15. Nonetheless God assures him that He will be with him (v. 16). Gideon requires not just one fleece confirmation but two in Judges 6:36-40. God graciously accommodates him.
Then, after taking his army down in numbers to a paltry 300 so that they would not take credit for the pending victory, but rather boast in God their deliverer in Judges 7:1-8, God comes to Gideon in v. 9 of that same chapter with His command to go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. And then, without any solicitation at all from Gideon, the Lord in His condescending grace adds this in vv. 10-11:
10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. 11 And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men who were in the camp.
What happens in the camp does strengthen Gideon and he goes on to lead God’s people in a glorious rout of the enemy.
I read that and thought, how incredibly gracious of God! He knows the frame of His weak-kneed servants. He condescends to offer multiple confirmations to His will in a given situation.
Upon surveying all the biblical evidence for God’s commitment to offer guidance to His children, J. I. Packer concludes, in his book Knowing God:
The point is sufficiently established. It is impossible to doubt that guidance is a reality intended for, and promised to every child of God. Christians who miss it thereby show only that they did not seek it as they should (p. 233).
Where do you need to believe God as most gracious in guidance? Where do we as a church need to believe God as most gracious in guidance? Let you/me count the ways! He who gave Israel the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22) and who gave His church Jesus, the light of the world (John 8:12), will not fail us.