Christian Leadership

“And so, as Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, ‘Arise! For Yahweh has given the camp of Midian into your hands!’”

(Judges 7:15)

If you have not yet taken notice, one of the hallmarks of Gideon (at least early in his career as a Judge) is that his actions are prefaced by worship. Here he has snuck up on one of the Midian sentry posts, overheard the telling of a dream that God has designed to encourage Gideon’s faith and confidence, and now, before he retreats back to safety, Gideon bows before the Lord and worships. It is probably not long, simply a reverential prayer of gratitude, but it is worship. And as we have noted before, that is exactly the mindset that every Christian ought to have as we go through life. For the believer, action begins with worship.

There is an interesting Hebrew idiom that is employed here when it comes to the interpretation of the dream. Literally the text reads: ‘As Gideon heard the account of the dream and its cracking open.’ The word in question is rRbRv (shever) and ordinarily it is used to refer to breaking or shattering something with force. Applied to the dream in question, the figure of speech is obvious. And though this is not a common use of the Hebrew term, it does seem to establish a bit of a play on words with what follows. For, just as the dream has been “cracked open,” so too will the clay jars that Gideon and his men carry be “cracked open” (same word). And all of this to crack open and destroy the Midianite camp like an old clay vessel. Such are the ways of God.

One more piece about Gideon…notice that as he rallies the troops, he gives them ownership in the victory. He does not say, “God has given Midian into my hands.” He does not say, “God has given Midian into our hands.” He uses the second-person plural — your. Gideon is the one called to lead this battle and God is bringing the victory, but the three hundred men of Gideon are the ones whose hands will seize the day. How important it is for leaders to remember this great truth. Worship God and give your people ownership in the victory. How easy it is for leaders (and pastors even!) to take all the credit for things wrought by those serving under or alongside of them. And, when that happens, how misplaced the credit really is.

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