BY VALDIR JOSÉ DA SILVA —
“Now, announce to the men, ‘Whoever is shaking with fear may turn around and leave Mount Gilead.’ 22,000 men went home; 10,000 remained'” Judges 7.3
The feeling that appears so much in the adventures of our hero Gideon is fear. In this chapter 7, the Lord recognizes Gideon’s fear in verse 10 and once again gives him a sign that he, the Lord God, will be present in battle.
But what strikes me most in this chapter is that 32,000 men volunteer to attack the Midianites. However, when it is proclaimed that those who are afraid may leave, an astonishing 22,000 return and 10,000 brave men remain.
I want to reflect a little on those 22,000 who left. Were they afraid? Yes. But even in fear they volunteered to go to war against Israel’s enemies. I admire people who, even with fear, take a risk, face their fears head-on and go forward. I am part of this group: I am afraid, but very rarely have I allowed fear to paralyze me or make me give up something.
So being afraid or feeling fear is not the problem. To a certain extent, fear is positive, because it makes us be cautious, thinking about our decisions. The problem is to succumb to fear, to be paralyzed, or to give up our projects and dreams.
In the book of Revelation Jesus says:
“But as for the cowards, unbelievers, detestable persons, murderers, the sexually immoral, and those who practice magic spells, idol worshipers, and all those who lie, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. That is the second death” Revelation 21.8.
Some versions translate “cowards” as timid. Coward in the Bible is the person who does not have the courage to renounce the world without God and confess Jesus as Lord. Also, after becoming a disciple of Jesus, the coward’s way of living does not differ from the way of people without God. He is afraid to take a stand for Jesus and obey the gospel. He denies Jesus and will be denied by Him in his triumphal return, Luke 9.25-26.
About the 10,000 brave people (in the end only 300 were chosen): Yes, there is always a voluntary group, who puts their hands to the plow, who go to the front line. These are the Pauls, Davids, Moseses, Joshuas, among other famous names in the Bible. These are not the protagonists of the biblical story (the protagonist is always God), but those who, like the heroes of the faith of Hebrews 11, stand out in their day for their faith. And they leave a legacy for future generations.
Let us be sure that, with God and the strength of his power (Ephesians 6:10), both the courageous and the fearful can eventually be powerful instruments in his hands, so that glory will always be the Lord’s and not ours, 2 Corinthians 4.7.
Valdir works in the Superior Justice Court in Guarulhos, Brazil. He is one of three evangelists in the Pimentas congregation, which he helped establish. He writes a daily meditation, sent by WhatsApp, going chapter by chapter through the Old Testament. This article was translated with his kind permission.