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Fear and Work in the Night

“Then Gideon took ten of his men — his servants — and did just as the word of Yahweh told him. Yet, because he was too afraid of the house of his father and the men of the city to do it by day, he worked at night.”

(Judges 6:27)

Had the scriptures simply told us that Gideon took ten men by night to tear down the altar and Asherah pole, we might have thought him brave and prompt, doing what God commanded immediately after the voice of Yahweh departed from him. Yet, God provides us with one additional piece of information: Gideon was afraid. And because Gideon was afraid, he did his work at night so that the men of the city and of his father’s house would not interfere or threaten him. Not bold and prompt, but fearful…and in this case, Gideon fearing both God and men. Thus he does what God tells him to do, but in the night.

Fear can be both a strong motivator and a crippling enemy. And how often we, as Christians, fall prey to the fears that we find in our lives. Some, like that of spiders or of heights, are irrational but others are perfectly rational and reflect very real possibilities. Yet, God repeatedly tells us in the Scriptures that the only one we ought to fear is Him, for God can destroy both body and soul when the things of this world can touch the former but do nothing to the latter. In the end, though, Gideon does do what he is commanded; sadly, often we do not. While fault can be found with both, who honors God?