The Israelites had a forty year rest after Barak and Deborah fought against the Canaanites in the book of Judges chapters 4-5. Deborah prayed – she fought by spiritual means.
Judges 6:1 says in the NKJV: Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord.
Throughout the book of Judges, the Israelites served God under a judge and then after the judge died, the people turned to the gods of their neighbors. God didn’t chase them down. He let them serve the false gods and their enemies began to treat them badly. Sometimes it was many years of hardship and then they’d realize they’d turned their backs on God and then they’d call out to Him and repent and ask for help.
Gideon said he was the least of the tribe of Manasseh, and the least of his family. He tried to thresh wheat in the wine press because the Midianites kept destroying their food as soon as they grew it.
The Angel of the Lord which I believe is the pre-incarnate Christ talked to Gideon about going to war against the Midianites. He told him to go in his strength because God is sending him. When Gideon realizes he’d seen God face to face and hadn’t died, he was terrified. Judges 6:23 says, “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.’”
Gideon was directed to tear down the altar of Baal and to present an offering to God with the wood of the image which he will cut to pieces. He was so afraid of the men in the area that he took ten servants of his father’s and destroyed the altar of Baal at night.
Gideon’s father was a Baal worshipper, but when the men arose to harm Gideon after he removed the idol, Gideon’s father said to let Baal contend for himself if he is a god. I’ll bet that encouraged Gideon. Maybe that’s why Gideon turned from God. Even though he saw God face to face and was able to destroy thousands of soldiers with only three hundred Israeli’s so God could get the glory, he still turned to idolatry. After the soldiers plundered their enemies Gideon asked for the gold earrings and he kept the pendants of gold from around the camel’s necks and made himself a golden idol.
Even though he got elevated in the eyes of the people, so that they asked him to rule over them, which he declined to do, and said that God is their ruler, he led the people astray by providing them an idol to bow down to.
It’s not easy to follow God some of the time, but not following God causes all sorts of problems. One of Gideon’s sons, a child of a concubine, decided he wanted to be the leader of the Israelis. Gideon had seventy other sons from his many wives and Abimelech went to his mother’s relatives and got help. He killed sixty-nine of his brothers. One hid himself to rise up against his half-brother as soon as he could. What a mess.
I don’t take my faith for granted. It says in 2 Timothy 2:15, (Webster): “Study to show thyself approved to God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
I continue reading the Word of God and praying for understanding even though it’s been many years since I first began. There is wisdom and direction and hope to name a few blessings in God’s Word that I keep finding. A Rhema word is a Scripture that practically jumps off the page at a believer which is God’s highlight and insight for the reader according to Pentecostal believers. I looked up Rhema online and found this link: http://www.biblestudy.org/beginner/definition-of-christian-terms/rhema.html
May God bless you.