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Ruthe's Secret Roses - by Ruth Marlene Friesen
Ruthe's Secret Roses
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Good Gideon's Courage

Life in Israel was scary and disheartening. Whenever they had a crop ripened for harvest in the field or gardens, their neighbours, the Midianites, came rushing in to steal it. The people were demoralized and some were starting to hide out in the caves in the hills.

But Gideon was smart, and had some spunk. He'd managed to harvest some grain, without the Midianites noticing, and he hid in a wine press (usually a pit) to thresh it. He had heard of the miracles God used to do for their ancestors in the long trek from Egypt, and Gideon was wondering why they couldn't have some appropriate miracles right now. Something to get rid of the Midianites.

Suddenly someone was sitting under the nearby oak tree, who greeted Gideon with, "The LORD be with you, mighty warrior."

"But sir," he replied respectfully, and started in with his questions as to why they didn't see deliverance miracles now.

This angel of the Lord, gave him a direct command, "Go in the strength you have and save Israel from Midian. I'm sending you."

Gideon addressed the man as Lord, so must have recognized him for a heavenly citizen, but he was full of excuses, about how he came from a weak family and he was the youngest, the runt of them.

The Lord promised, "I will be with you, and you will strike them down as if they were but one man."

Gideon wanted to believe, but needed a sign so he asked the man to wait while he went to fetch a meal as an offering.

This angel asked him to put it on a rock, where he touched the food with the tip of his staff, and fire flared up eating it all away. The angel disappeared with the smoke.

But Gideon kept on talking to the Lord, exclaiming that he had seen the angel of the Lord face to face. The Lord answered him, with a promise of peace and that he would not die. So Gideon built an altar of worship there.

That night they continued their running dialogue, for the Lord gave him the job of tearing down his father's idols first of all. Gideon did that under cover of night, and the next morning his father defended him against the villagers who were upset to find those things replaced with an altar to God and a bull sacrificed on it.

After that God led Gideon to call together a small army. Although he still begged further confirmation, (this Gideon was a super-cautious fellow), with a fleece of wool. The first night Gideon begged for a sign by having the fleece contain dew and everything around it dry. The next night Gideon wanted the fleece dry and all around it dew-covered. God gave him a both.

Gideon ended up giving his brand new army an eagerness test and sent home most of the volunteers, in answer to God's request that he watch how they drank water at a brook.

Eventually they did rout the Midianites enemy camp in one dramatic night-time stand by simply hiding torches in clay vessels until they surrounded the camp, then breaking the lights free and blowing hard on trumpets. That scared the daylights out of the Midianites army! They roused out of their bedrolls to fight each other! All Gideon's men had to do was chase the stray run-aways, and bring back the heads of the two leaders, Oreb and Zeeb.

Are you a super-cautious Gideon, longing for a miracle or two? Talk things over with the Lord, and get rid of sinful practices. Ask for confirmation if you're not sure of His will, but once you are, do it! Your courage will grow big enough to get your miracles started.

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