Gideon goes out into battle in Judges 7. Before he does, God has some things to take care of. When we talked about Deborah, we talked about how the leader needed to set out and the people were there to follow.
We see that same thing in this chapter. The chapter opens with Gideon and “all the people with him.” In chapter 6, we read about Gideon being clothed with the Spirit of God. He calls certain groups of Israelites to follow him, and they do.
First, he had to obey and tear down the altar of Baal. He had to obey first. Then he’s clothed with the Spirit of God and it draws people to him. He goes out as a leader, with God as his leader, and the people follow. They just needed someone to lead.
Chapter 7 of Judges is the famous story of God whittling down Gideon’s army from tens of thousands to just 300. He cuts their number twice, just like Gideon asked for two fleeces to be sure.
God does things on purpose. If His purpose was just to show off, He’d do a lot flashier things; you know He could. But He doesn’t. His interest is in us, and our relationship with Him.
Gideon had asked for two fleeces to be sure; God tests to see that He believed those signs and twice asks Gideon to send home soldiers. Gideon obeys. He didn’t know ahead of time God was going to ask this of him, but he obeys.
Then, when it comes time to stand and fight, God gives comfort. God tells Gideon that IF he is afraid, he can go down to the enemy camp. God has arranged a specific encounter. He has given one man a dream and another man a very specific interpretation of the dream saying that God was going to give them into the hand of Gideon. Gideon worships, the correct response, and then heads into battle.
God didn’t turn Gideon back for his fear, but God also didn’t cater to it, doesn’t treat Gideon like he would or should be afraid. God’s compassionate about it. Gideon acted in obedience before and after that point. But God doesn’t start off with assurances to keep him from fear. The assurance should be God Himself. If He is for us, who can be against us. If He told us to go, He will be with us and won’t leave us. If He tells us to do something, He will give us everything we need to accomplish it. God is our assurance to walk by faith and not fear.