Too often, fear keeps us from enjoying what God has promised. We want so badly to have faith in what the Lord says. But fear of what we see seems more compelling than mere words. Gideon knew that.
Gideon longed to believe God. But the enemy army before him was enormous. What he saw seemed far more compelling than what God had promised him.
We face the same odds today. And the solution is the same.
Gideon’s (Lack of) Faith at Ein Harod
The Spring of Harod (Ein Harod) still flows today from the mouth of a cave at the bottom of Mount Gilboa. Throughout the centuries, water from this spring refreshed innumerable travelers throughout the Harod Valley. It was here Gideon learned to trust God (Judges 7:1-25).
Although the Lord promised a great victory, the doubtful judge still requested a sign to prove it. Yet the assurance of God’s promises didn’t negate the circumstances that forced Gideon to have faith. The fleece didn’t cause 135,000 Midianites to disappear.
Fear was still in Gideon, and he still had to have faith for deliverance.
The Lord knew that the Hebrews, though badly outnumbered, would still boast in their victory. So the Lord told Gideon to bring his men down to the Ein Harod spring and separate them on the basis of how they drank. Thinning the ranks again put him in a position that would expose his fear.
Gideon had sought security with the fleece, and though God acquiesced to the request, the Lord immediately countered by putting him in an even more precarious position.
If he struggled to have faith at 4 to 1 odds, how would he react to 450 to 1? He had to face his fear. No other way would do it.
How God Uses Fear to Strengthen our Faith
Some situations today will seem as bleak, hopeless, and full of fear as Gideon’s seemed to him at Ein Harod. Circumstances and emotions will demand we doubt what God has clearly promised. But our confidence and faith must remain fixed on what the Lord has said, not in what we see.
To help us understand that, God does several things:
- He will take us to uncomfortable places to free us from fear and to convince us He can do what He said.
- The Father may ignore our immature pleas for relief and let us squirm.
- As we face the unavoidable fear, we begin to understand what escape would never have allowed: God does what He says.