Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, Rule you over us, both you, and your son, and your son's son also…
I. GIDEON TEACHES US THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING OUR FAITH STRENGTHENED. Any means Gideon possessed for accomplishing the work he had undertaken were, humanly speaking, altogether inadequate. He had not a chance of success, if it could be said with truth, "There is no hope for him in God." Faith being then, as faith is still, the medium of connection between human weakness and Divine power, it was his mainstay. He was thrown entirely on its strength. The ship does not ride the storm otherwise than by the hold her anchor takes of the solid ground. By that, which lies in the calm depths below, as little moved by the waters that swell and roll and foam above, as by the winds that lash them into fury, she resists the gale, and rides the billows of the stormiest sea. But her safety depends on something else also. When masts are struck and sails are furled, and, anchored off reef or rocky shore, she is labouring in the wild tumult for her life, it likewise lies in the strength of her cable and of the iron arms that grasp the solid ground. By these she hangs to it; and thus not only the firm earth, but their strength also, is her security. Let the flukes of the anchor or strands of the cable snap, and her fate is sealed. Nothing can avert it. Powerless to resist, and swept forward by the sea, she drives on ruin; and hurled against an iron shore, her timbers are crushed to pieces like a shell. And what anchor and cable are to her, faith, by which man makes God's strength his own, was to Gideon, and is still to believers in their times of trial.
II. GIDEON TEACHES US TO MAKE THOROUGH WORK OF WHAT BELONGS TO OUR DELIVERANCE FROM SIN. In closing the account of what God did for him, and through him for his people, the historian says, "Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more." And how was this accomplished? The remarkable victory God wrought for Gideon, without any effort on his part, may be regarded as a type of that greater, better victory which, without any effort on ours, God's Son wrought for us when He took our nature and our sins upon Him — dying, the just for the unjust, that we might be saved. Gideon followed up this victory by calling all possible resources to his aid. He summoned the whole country to arms, as, accompanied by his famous three hundred men, he hung on the skirts of the broken host, and with sword bathed in their blood cut down the fugitives — kings, princes, captains, and common soldiers — with an eye that knew no pity and a hand that did not spare. Now, it is to work as thorough, and against enemies more formidable, that He who trod the winepress alone, redeeming us to God by His blood, calls all His followers. By resolute self-denial, by constant watchfulness, by earnest prayer, by the diligent use of every means of grace, and above all by the help of the Holy Spirit, we are to labour to cast sin out of our hearts. This is no easy work. But heaven is not to be reached by easy-going people. Like a beleaguered city, where men scale the walls and swarm in at the deadly breach, the violent take it by force. The rest it offers is for the weary. The crowns it confers are for warriors' brows.
(T. Guthrie, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.