At the session in Ukraine I studied chapters 6-8 of the book JUDGES, about Gideon. I watched as God, step by step, raised him from a fearful man to a brave man, through whom He delivered the people of Israel from the hand of the Midianites.
The process was not an easy one. Each time God asked Gideon to do something, the latter imposed conditions and put God to the test. However, God was forgiving and patient with him. A beautiful example, from which I learned how to relate to people at different stages of their spiritual growth.
The peak of Gideon’s success was the victory near Mount Gilead. God gave Gideon a crushing victory over the Midianite coalition: 300 Israeli men “armed” with pitchers and trumpets threw into panic an army of at least 120,000 soldiers armed to the teeth. After returning from the war, the people proposed that he rule over them, but Gideon refused, arguing that God was the One who gave the victory and that He must rule over them. Gideon in Judges 8:23 is no longer the same as in chapter 6. At this stage of his life he is no longer fearful and indecisive, but courageous, spiritual, and determined.
When he reaches the peak of his success, Gideon relaxes and makes an unwise decision. He makes a gold ephod (a garment worn by the High Priest), which later becomes a trap of idolatry for the whole people. At the beginning of chapter 9 we read that after the death of Gideon, the people began again to do what was displeasing to the Lord, and they made Baal-berith their god. Gideon did not keep his way and turned away from the Lord, leading all the people into idolatry.
Let’s not repeat this Gideon experience. With God you are brave, as long as you listen to Him. You can’t rely on past victories.
So help us God!
Translated by Olya Trikolich