Dropping the gloves in the world of hockey is a declaration, “the fight is on”! This kind of battle is wildly cheered by fans while players watch shouting enthusiastic support to their teammate. The fisticuff lasts seconds and then it is over. It is all part of the game!
Gideon dropped his gloves the night he built the “Lord is peace” altar. On that night he broke down the Baal altar and tore down his father’s Asherah pole. The reaction the next morning was swift, “Gideon must die for what he has done!”. But that is not what Gideon’s Dad thought. In defense of his son, Joash jolted the people into a new reality, “If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself.” (Judges 6:32). Baal never made a move in his own defense and the people hailed Gideon as a hero giving him a nick name, Jerub-Baal meaning – “Contender!”
A leader with an emerging reputation is noticed! Gideon’s reputation for being a contender was growing and the enemy took note. Over the border they came armed and ready to drop their gloves. Thick as locusts they were with a cavalry of camels more numerous than the sand on the seashore (Judges 6:12). This was not the first time they came but it was the first time they would face a contender. Gideon they had heard of but Gideon’s God they knew nothing of!
“Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Gideon and he blew a trumpet summoning the fighting men to follow him.” (Judges 6:34-35). Thus began the process of right sizing Gideon’s army to ensure the Israelites would know the battle no matter what the battle, is the Lord’s. How is it that we are no different from the people in Gideon’s day? The same self-reliance that God saw in His people then is in us today. Did Gideon need on-going assurances? He most certainly did the meal consumed by fire (Judges 6:21); the fleece tests (Judges 6:36-40); the night visit to the enemy camp and declaration of his victory by the enemy (Judges 6:9-14) were the confirmations Gideon needed to keep the gloves off.
When a leader with a reputation summons people to follow they will! 32,000 men showed up ready to do battle with Gideon. Yet God’s plan was different. He reduced the fighting men to a mere 300. You would think Gideon might have been wide eyed in disbelief at what he was experiencing, yet we have no indication that this was so. Gideon was convinced, when the enemy shows up for battle so does God. He was convinced the might of the enemy was no match for the might of God. He is so able to do the impossible, improbable and the irrational!
The cry of Gideon’s 300 warriors on the night of the battle was odd, “A sword of the Lord and for Gideon!” (Judges 6:20). Make no mistake the spiritual battles we face today as leaders can only be won by the Spirit of God! Make no mistake God needs leaders who remain in a posture of trust and confidence in His ability to overcome. Make no mistake people follow a leader who has the courage to drop the gloves when God says “Go”!