We are inundated with heroes. Superman, Batman, Ironman, Spiderman… and they all have one story: an arch villain threatens the people with inconceivable evil, a mild-mannered nobody discovers extraordinary abilities and rises up to fight the villain, and our new hero saves the day! This plot actually originates in the Bible, with people like Gideon.
Israel had forsaken God’s protection by following the false religions of the world around them. The wicked Midianites discovered Israel’s vulnerability and were constantly attacking with hit-and-run raids. This frustrated young, guileless, Gideon.
God creates a hero
The Angel of the Lord found Gideon hiding in a winepress, threshing his wheat where the Midianites wouldn’t find it. He was fuming on the inside and dirty on the outside when the Angel addressed him, “Mighty Hero!” Gideon shared his frustrations with his new friend, “Why are there no miracles of deliverance these days?” The Angel turned it around, “You go and save Israel from the Midianites.” Gideon realized this was God and God had just called him a mighty hero and given him a mission.
God tests a hero
First, Gideon was to strike the heart of idolatry in his home town by smashing the altar of Baal. Gideon obeyed – at night, and in the morning the townspeople came for him with axes and pitchforks. His dad faced the mob, asking them, “If Baal is so powerful why can’t he defend himself?” They agreed, but Gideon would get a new nickname, Jerub-baal, which means ‘Baal better defend himself’. Or more colloquially, ‘Demon Slayer’. Gideon’s obedience produced his new hero profile – The Demon Slayer.
God uses a hero
Gideon’s next instructions were to call the men of Israel to war. They came because they heard The Demon Slayer would lead them in victory against the Midianites. This had gone national and Gideon was feeling the pressure so God graciously agreed to answer some fleece tests and boost Gideon’s confidence – now Gideon was ready to obey to the end.
As miracles go, God whittled The Demon Slayer’s army from 32,000 down to 300 – against 135,000 Midianites, who had conscripted their entire male population into this one battle.
In the dead of night, as the Midianites were dreaming in their tents, trumpets blew, torches blazed, and a shout went out, “The sword of the Lord and of Gideon.” Midianites scrambled for their weapons and began killing anything that moved or made a sound – each other. By morning light they were running for home. But Demon Slayer summoned his other 32,000 warriors back into the fight and they ambushed the remnant of fleeing Midianites at the Jordan River crossing, killing them all, and the Midianites are never heard of again!
Are you a hero?
God is looking for heroes, men and women who will be faithful to the end, ordinary people that He can empower to do extraordinary things. You can be that hero if you are frustrated by injustice, expect that God will deliver, and will obey the opportunity in front of you today.
This is a guest post by Dean Hughes, Dean of Victory Bible College International Asia. You can contact Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org