Here we read that Gideon had to run the gauntlet of criticism and skepticism.
Every leader has to do so. In fact, what I have learned over the years of ministry is that anyone who does something will be open to the same. So let’s have a look and see how Gideon got on.
Although Gideon had won a great battle on behalf of the whole Israeli nation – all the tribes – the Ephraimites accosted him because they felt rejected and neglected. They had been called in to help but they felt that they should have been involved from the beginning.
Gideon was quick to point out that their victory was superior since God had done most of the work before they got involved.
Having placated the Ephraimites, Gideon and his exhausted posse kept on in pursuit of the Midianite kings. They first went to Succoth, and then to Peniel, seeking refreshment and supplies. However, the leaders of both towns declined to assist. They probably looked at Gideon and his exhausted band of followers and wondered how on earth they were going to capture those kings who were leading such a vast army.
They just mocked and jeered at Gideon and his team who marched on… to victory. Everyone loves a winner, don’t they? Sometimes we need to look beyond the external, beyond the obvious and see by faith what God can do with a person’s life. Over the years I have been amazed how people can be totally transformed by the power of God.
I’ve had the privilege of leading Alpha courses for over a decade now and have seen so many people arrive the first night timid, shy, disturbed, angry, suspicious or determined not to enjoy themselves. By the end of the course, however, these same people are radiant, purposeful and excited. They have met with the living God and can’t keep quiet about it.
These people should not have under-estimated Gideon. He and his men went on to capture those kings and kill them. The leaders of those towns had to eat humble pie and pay the consequences of their cynicism.
How we deal with criticism and opposition is critical. We need to be wary of becoming arrogant and dismissive but we also need to be firm when the criticism is unjustified. It’s especially important that we don’t let our own team down.