Gideon: God Uses Unlikely People

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By Melissa McLaughlin

I was sailing down the highway to an appointment when traffic stopped. Cars piled up and came to a standstill. I leaned forward scanning the scene to locate the cause.

Minutes ticked by and still nothing. Finally, I noticed a man straining to move a heavy load of turf across the highway. The roll was about 12 feet long, wound unevenly, and tied with a rope. I could only imagine the weight of this bundle.

Slowly he made his way, heaving this burden across the highway.

Once the roadblock was removed, he hopped in his run-down, compact car and zipped down the highway. The traffic resumed. A few miles down the road, I observed a big rig hauling a load of turf pulled over. The truck driver stared behind.

The unknown man single-handedly cleared the highway of the truck’s fallen freight so traffic could continue safely. Because of this unsung hero, I made my appointment on time and avoided collisions. His determination and resourcefulness were memorable.

This incident reminded me of a man from the Bible who thought he was too insignificant to be used by God. That man is Gideon.

God Uses Gideon

In Judges 6-8, we read of the Midianites and other nations oppressing the Israelites, by coming against them, devouring their crops, and stripping the land through widespread encampment of their people and livestock. The Israelites resorted to hiding in caves and mountains. The enemy forces were starving the Israelites and left no sustenance for them.

Gideon’s story picks up in Judges 6:11, where Gideon is found threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites.

For years I misunderstood this verse, thinking Gideon was threshing wheat in a cowardly manner. However, during a recent reading of this passage, I realized Gideon was in fact a determined and resourceful man.

The Scripture does not directly state how Gideon came to possess the wheat. Yet, we can infer if the enemy witnessed Gideon’s threshing openly, the grain would have been confiscated.

There stood Gideon, single-handedly attempting a small, brave act.

What follows is nothing short of breathtaking. The Angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, saying, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:12).

Gideon questioned the Angel, asking if the LORD was still with them, why they were defeated and oppressed by enemy nations. The LORD assured Gideon to go in the strength he had. Gideon would save Israel from the Midianites, because the LORD sent him.

Gideon asked how he could save Israel, explaining his clan was the weakest and he was the least in his father’s house.

The LORD declared He will be with Gideon to defeat the Midianites.

Gideon requested a sign. He prepared an offering of goat meat, broth, and bread and presented it to the Angel of the LORD by placing it on a rock. The Angel touched the offering with His staff, and fire arose from the rock consuming the offering. Suddenly, the Angel of the LORD disappeared.

At this point, Gideon recognized he had seen the LORD and feared for his life. But the LORD said, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die (Judges 6:23).”

Gideon’s faith was bolstered, and he followed God’s command to destroy the altar of Baal and gather God’s people to fight the Midianites.

Gideon asked God for two more signs before he took full responsibility for leading the Israelites. God prevailed and prepared Gideon to become the man of valor he was so named by God.

Before advancing, however, the LORD reduced Gideon’s army to 300 men, so the victory would belong to God alone. Eventually, Gideon led the Israelites to defeat the Midianites and ushered in 40 years of peace.

God Uses Unlikely People

There are many lessons we can learn from Gideon. However, one point is unmistakable. God uses the unlikely. He uses simple people in hidden places, unknown to others, but seen by God. He can use one brave man to clear an entire freeway for people to drive safely. He can use one bold man threshing wheat to rescue a whole nation.

God doesn’t need the masses to accomplish His plans. He doesn’t need government leaders, hi-tech gadgets, or systems of the world. God uses unlikely people who are willing to follow Him.

We may feel our clans are weak and we are the least in our families. But God commands us to go in the strength we have. For He is God. He supplies the might and He brings the peace.

Are you facing challenges today? Remember, God is with you. God looks upon the heart. He sees you and me. He calls us to rise up and become who He made us to be.

Hallelujah! Through Christ, our victory is won. As we follow Him, may we become men and women of valor for His kingdom. May we let the One who made us define us.

Other posts you may enjoy:

Who Were the Sons of Korah in the Bible

Rahab: The Scarlet Cord of Faith

God Provides a Door of Hope in the Valley of Trouble

Bible Study: Gideon- God Uses Unlikely People

19 thoughts on “Gideon: God Uses Unlikely People”

  1. Hi Melissa. I also saw Gideon as somewhat cowardly. But it certainly makes sense that, if he was going to thresh wheat, he would have to do it incognito. I imagine others may have been too scared to do what Gideon did. And then he fulfilled God’s request. Not many cowardly people would do that. What an emboldening story and example we have in Gideon. Thank you for bringing it to light.

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    • Thank you for sharing your perspective, Stephen. Gideon was actually carrying out a small, but brave act when he hid away threshing wheat. God saw something in Gideon that Gideon could not see for himself. May we be listening for the name God has for us and step up in faith and obedience. For He goes with us! God bless you!

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    • Well said, Melissa! What an honor that the God of the universe can and will use anyone for His kingdom and to show His love to others. It revives our souls to remember those unexpected people He has used. We realize God can use us too! Even with all our flaws and failures. With God all things are possible! Blessings to you and your family!

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  2. Thank you for your insight into Gideon’s story.
    I love the “small, unassuming” people in this world. Those who quietly live their lives going about accomplishing the works God planned for them. They don’t need the acclaim of others. They just live to please God.
    Those are my heroes.
    God will reward their faithfulness on judgment day.

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    • I agree, Mary Anne. Those “small, unassuming” people who live a quiet life of faithfulness to the Lord, plant seeds all along the way. God leads and they follow. No ticker tape parades, just a love for God and for His people. They are my heroes, as well. They will be great in the kingdom of God. Lord, may we quietly walk with you, obey you, and carry out your calling for us. However great or small. For you see it all!

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  3. Thank you for this reminder dear Melissa! God uses our weaknesses, for when I am weak then I am strong–in the power of HIS might alone. It is a lesson He is continuing to take deeper in me. Blessings to you dear friend.

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    • Dear Bettie, that is a difficult and long lesson for all of us. When we are weak, there is more room for God to accomplish His purposes through HIS might alone. May you rest in the Lord as He takes you deeper into His strength and power. Lifting you in prayer right now. God bless you, dear friend.

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  4. Thank you for shining some new light on the story for me. And I’m so thankful God still uses unlikely people to complete His work. Loved this message Melissa

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    • I am thankful, too, Yvonne. Sometimes, we feel like we’re too weak, worn out, or ill-equipped to be of service to God. But when we are weak, then He shows Himself strong. God bless you and your many ministries! He has used you mightily!

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  5. Melissa, what a great intro story. I remember doing Priscilla Shirer’s Bible study on Gideon. So I’ve always rallied in Judges 6:12–the way God saw Gideon. And this is so powerful, “God uses the unlikely. He uses simple people in hidden places, unknown to others, but seen by God.” I’m grateful the Lord takes ordinary people and uses us for His kingdom work.

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    • I agree, Karen. The story of Gideon is very inspiring. God saw Gideon’s God-given giftings and called him to rise up and take hold of them. I am so grateful God uses ordinary people for His eternal kingdom work! God bless you!

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  6. Good word Ms. Melissa. It’s not what we may be capable of doing, but what we allow God to do through us that will make the most impact in this world. God’s blessings mighty warrior.

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