Do you ever think less of yourself because you were too chicken to do something? Have you ever associated some of the people in the Bible with chicken status when they struggled in following through with what God was asking of them?
I think I can relate to many characters in the Bible. At one time or another I have failed just like they did. They serve as a reminder to me that God forgives huge failures and yet chooses to use the person again. Even those who knew God intimately and then screwed up – think of Peter, David, or Moses – were later used by God for greater things.
Once again the judge Gideon has my attention. Here's a young son trying to do needed work in a hidden way and an angel appears to him calling him by his as-of-yet-unaccomplished-but-soon-to-be title. Can you see Gideon looking over his shoulder for someone else in the area, and thinking, “Who are you talking about?” (Judges 6:12-13) Then he basically asked, oh I can so relate to this, “You want me to do what?” (6:14-15)
After God showed himself with the first testing Gideon was given his first task. But, being a chicken, he probably thought, “Fine, I’ll do it. But I’m going to do it at night when no one can see me.” And he did. (Judges 6:27)
Notice that God didn’t get angry with him because he did it in the dead of night. In fact, here's a surprise kicker, it was Gideon’s father who defended him when the village men wanted to kill him. (Judges 6:30-31) Where was Gideon you may ask? He was hiding in the house. Can you say chicken?
Have you ever had a chicken moment like that? Perhaps after saying something boldly you wanted to go hide? Like, you can’t believe you actually said something that stood in opposition to everyone else. And then wondered if you did the right thing? Or after following through with what you felt God was telling you to do or say, did you experience many at church stand against you? Now can you relate to Gideon? I know that chicken feeling.
I can’t fault Gideon for testing God with the fleece even after he was given the Spirit of God to act. (6:34-40) Following the rejection by the men in the village for tearing down his dad's altar that should never have been there in the first place, of course he would question his next assignment. Remember there's a piece of him that’s still thinking, “Should I do this?”
When all the men arrive after his call to battle, he has to be excited because he has thousands of men going with him to fight. (7:1) I'm sure he thought, “Yahoo. I don’t have to do this alone.” He probably found peace in this. Then, God tells Gideon he has too many men. So he allows the men who aren’t sure they should be there to go home. With several thousand men still left, he’s got to be thinking that he’s still good. (7:2-3)
But. Then. God tells him there are still too many. (7:4-5) Can you imagine the sinking feeling in his stomach? At this point he has to put his trust in God in a new way. So the number is whittled down to 300 men who passed the test. (7:6-7) And it’s through these few men that God takes down an army of tens of thousands of soldiers.
Who would have thought?
You know what this tells me? God has a way. Even when I don’t see a way that things will work. Even when I think I don’t have what it takes to do the job. Even when the people around me disagree or are in opposition to what I understand God wants of me, God has a way. God took a man who was afraid to stand up to others, who questioned everything told to him, who was fearful he wasn't hearing correctly and made him into a strong judge over his people. I’m so glad I have Gideon as an example that with God all things are possible.