We see today that Gideon was not the only one who was afraid. Of the 32,000 men who rallied to his side, 22,000 of them were also afraid and returned home. However, God did not even need 10,000 men to win the victory, so He put the remaining ones to a test and an additional 9,700 were sent home, leaving 300 to fight the battle with Gideon.
On the night of the battle God saw that there was still fear in Gideon's heart, so He graciously gave him a special sign that he would win the battle. The barley cake represented Gideon, for barley was the poorest kind of food. God was going to use this "poor farmer" to win a great victory.
Gideon became a compromiser in chapter 8. After his great victory, the nation asked him to become their king and establish a royal family. He refused, saying, "The Lord shall rule over you" (chapter 8:23). However, he used this opportunity to ask for a "lesser thing"--all their earrings and ornaments. He made an idolatrous image with the 70 pounds of gold he collected! What the Midianites had been unable to do by means of sword, Satan accomplished with earrings! It is sad to see the man who overthrew Baal's altar now setting up an idol of his own! Unfortunately, the whole nation forsook God and worshiped the new god. When Gideon died the nation went right back to worshiping Baal.
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