It did not take long before the people forgot their promises again. Because they worshiped other gods, God could not make them strong. A terrible tribe called the Midianites conquered them. God chose a man named Gideon to help His people. He sent an angel who told Gideon he must knock down the altar and statue to other gods. God’s people were worshiping this statue on the hill.
Gideon knew the other men in the village could kill him for this. He was afraid to tear down the altar of their gods, but he did it anyway since God had asked him to.
Gideon and ten of his servants climbed the hill. They went to the place where the foreign gods were worshiped. There they smashed the stone altar and the statue to other gods.
Then they very quietly built a new altar. They killed one of the bulls they had brought with them and burned it on the altar. They prayed to God.
“Please, Lord, please take care of us. “The next morning when the men of the village found the broken altar, they said, “Who dared to do this? We’ll kill him!”
But Joash, Gideon’s father, told them, “If your god is really a god, let him punish the culprit. You stay out of it.” The men agreed. So Gideon was safe and the altar of the Lord remained.
Soon the Midianites were planning to attack Israel again. Gideon asked God, “Lord, if You are really going to help Israel win, then please show me. I will put this sheepskin on the ground for the night. If it is wet with dew, and the ground around it is dry, then I will know we should go into battle. “And it was so. The next morning the sheepskin was wet, but the ground was dry. Gideon still wanted to be sure. “Lord, forgive me, please. But may I test You yet one more time? Tonight, could You please make the ground wet with dew, but keep the sheepskin dry?”
And it was so. This way Gideon had no doubt at all that he was doing what God wanted.
Many men followed Gideon. They all wanted to fight against the Midianites. So Gideon led the people to a river. On the other side was the Midianite army.
But the Lord said, “Gideon, there are too many soldiers with you. If you win, the people might become proud. They will think they did it all b by themselves. I want to teach them to rely on Me and trust Me. Tell those who are even a little bit afraid to go home.” Gideon did so and about half the people went home.
“But there are still too many,” God said. “Take them down to the river. Those who kneel and drink will go home. Those who cup the water in their hands and drink will fight the battle.”
Gideon did what God told him. And almost all the people knelt to drink. “You,” Gideon pointed at the people on their knees, “all of you go on home.”
After the people left, Gideon counted how many remained. There were only three hundred men. “God will fight’ Gideog said.