Our emotions can take over.
The Bee Gee’s had a hit song called Emotions. One part of the lyrics says, “In the words of a broken heart
It’s just emotion that’s taken me over
Tied up in sorrow, lost in my soul.”
The song is about a lover that has left. The psalmist is overcome by emotions that have “taken Over.”
This past week was full of many emotions and decision making. As I was reading the story of Gideon, I began to see a pattern with him and the different types of emotions he fell under while trying to maneuver through a course of action with little hope or self-esteem. The story of Gideon is much an allegory for our inner selves and our seat of emotions.
Sadness is an emotion. Anger is an emotion. Anxiety is an emotion. Joy is an emotion. Feelings are not bad, and they don’t define us, but they do let us know something deeper is going on. Multiple things can cause emotions to erupt—things like rejection, low self-esteem, misunderstandings, unforgiveness, and feeling misunderstood or unloved.
Multiple issues with people and situations can evoke emotions. But if we let our emotions get the best of us, we are not in control of our person. When situations, conflicts, and things out of our control cause us to react, we need to ask ourselves what we are feeling and why it is taking over our ability to have peace. If traffic is causing us to become anxious, ride on the bumper in front of us, swear or become angry, there is much more going on than an absentminded driver in front of us.
How often do we examine our emotions? We should be able to stop and ask ourselves, “Why am I feeling this emotion right now? Here is a list to meditate on:
1. Why am I feeling scared or fearful?
2. Why are my palms sweating on this interview?
3. Do I love this person with pure love, or am I in constant fear I will not be enough, or will they walk away from the relationship?
4. Do I love my children or spouse so much that it’s unhealthy? Controlling?
5. Do others need to share my same education level, social status, religious beliefs, political beliefs etc., for me to find good and light in others?
How can we find balance in loving and receiving love? In Mature relationships, we love, but we do not love so much that we lose ourselves or use manipulation or control to get a person to think as we do or believe as we do. We release people to live and explore and figure things out on their own, offering advice and receiving it. Friendships should hold up mirrors so we can see ourselves better.
At times relationships sizzle and go away. At times, one person was more interested in the relationship than the other. We might ask ourselves why we were drawn to the person in the beginning? What was the common denominator? Work—religious affiliations—school, etc. Was our motive pure, or was there something we wanted in return? An open door or opportunity of advancement? Were they connected to others we thought could help us in some fashion?
Perfect love cast out fear. There is no fear in pure love. We can’t buy love with gifts or words or make someone love us; they either do or don’t. They either honor us or they don’t. Being afraid that someone will leave or not love us with unconditional love is exhausting.
One man in the Bible was staying inactive because of his emotions. He had many fears. He needed a messenger to set him straight, and even after an angelic being appeared and spoke to him, he still doubted, had concerns, and insecurities, but he did not stay in this state of mind. Who was this man? His name is Gideon. Gideon was the 5th judge of Israel. He was the judge after Deborah. In the story, two kings are killed, one named Oreb and the other Zeeb. Their names mean raven and wolf. More on this later.
Gideon and the Holy One’s people were dealing with much due to disobedience:
“Again the Israelites did evil in the sight of the LORD; so He delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in the mountains, caves, and strongholds” (Judges 6:1-2).
The people of the east invaded Israel’s land like a great swarm of locusts and ravaged it. They burned their houses and their fields, but NOT before taking off with their bounty.
- They destroyed the produce of the land
- They left Israel with no sustenance—no sheep, oxen, or donkeys.
- Midian (judgment) caused poverty
- They came upon the land like grasshoppers/locusts
- They caused the people to hide and live in fear and poverty
Sound Familiar? Please take a second and meditate on how all these situations can happen in our minds. We can have such stinkin thinkin, become stuck, fearful, unable to defeat the voices in our heads, and remain in a state of spiritual, physical, and mental deprivation. When all these things occur, we do not produce fruit.
Midian/ Midianites mean “Strife, Place of Judgment.” (Abarim Publications)
Israel cries out to the Holy One. This is the verse I’m pondering, along with Gideon’s emotions that drastically alter in this story. Why does Israel wait seven years to cry out? Were they not crying out in year two or three? Or did things have to get worse. What does “crying out” to Adonai sound like in year one of trials versus year seven or even over 400 years in Egypt. We complain about gas prices, leadership, and higher inflation, but who are we complaining to? Are we really reaching the source, or are we just talking about how ignorant the people in leadership are? How corrupt this and that is. Have our cries reached the God of the heavens? Lord of Host “Adonai Tzva’ot.” What type of vibration would that make versus our emotions and tendencies to blame others?
We find Gideon hiding. Threshing wheat without an ox at a winepress. Gideon is met by an angel of the Lord, and he calls Gideon a mighty man of valor, but Gideon does not see himself as that. He sees himself as weak and worthless. Sound familiar? And Gideon cannot understand why this harsh famine and oppression is happening if the Holy One is so powerful; why has He allowed such difficult seasons? Such fear and suffering. Seven years’ worth.
“And the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon and said, “The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.” “Please, my Lord,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all His wonders of which our fathers told us, saying, ‘Has not the LORD brought us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hand of Midian.”The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:12-14).
Gideon is commanded that night to cut down his father’s altars to Baal and the adjacent shrine of Asherah. He then is to build an altar unto the Lord Most High. Gideon has a new emotion now. His first one was he felt weak and the least qualified person to do anything to change the circumstances. Now, Gideon has fearful emotions, but he has to start with his father’s house before he can venture to lead Israel to victory. Due to his fear, he takes ten men and does as he is commanded to do, but he does it at night.
“So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city, he did it by night rather than in the daytime.”(Judges 6:27).
After Gideon is obedient, things begin to fall into place and become easier, right? Wrong.
“Joash, “Bring out your son (Gideon). He must die because he has torn down Baal’s altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it.”
Gideon’s father stands up for Gideon and insults the false gods.
Gideon’s next emotion is skepticism. Although an angel has appeared before him, then vanished in midair, Gideon doubts he heard correctly, so he puts out a fleece. Not once, but twice.
- Doubt–Gideon doubts he is who the Holy One says he is (A mighty man of valor).
- Low self-worth—compares himself to his family. Gideon says, “his family is the poorest in Manasseh.” Poor in comparison to others. Poor isn’t just financial situations.
- Gideon is afraid to tear down the altars of Baal and the Ashtaroth Poles. His fear is death, and rightly so as they demand he be put to death afterward. Gideon is obedient despite his fears.
- Gideon is still unsure if he is hearing the Holy One correctly. He is still dealing with fear, doubt, and uncertainty that he is indeed called to defeat the enemy.
- Gideon presents two tests to see if the Holy One will answer him because he is still not certain: “Then Gideon said to God, “Do not be angry with me; let me speak one more time. Please allow me one more test with the fleece. This time let it be dry, and the ground covered with dew.” And that night, God did so. Only the fleece was dry, and dew covered the ground. (Judges 6, BSB).
Are we like Gideon? Do we have uncertainty about our calling, assignments, and our identity? Gideon did not see himself as a mighty man of valor, but Adonai did. Gideon felt like the last person able to do the job. He continues to need help but also steps out in faith each step of the way and obeys. I am amazed that the Father did not get angry at Gideon and rebuke him, but instead, the Holy One addressed his fears and even said, “Get up and go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you are afraid to do so, then go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Then your hands will be strengthened to attack the camp.” So he went with Purah his servant to the outposts where armed men were guarding the camp.” (Judges 7:9-11).
No one seems to know who Purah is, but his name means fruitful branch, but this seems very interesting to this old Gal!
The army of the Israelites amounted to 32,000 men (Judges
7:4), but that of the Midianites and their allies was about 135,000 (Judges 8:10) so that they were greatly superior to the Israelites in numbers. Nevertheless, the Lord said to Gideon, “The people that are with thee are too many for me to give Midian into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, My hand hath helped me.” Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary
Fearful Gideon arrives in the camp just as a man from the enemy’s camp is telling another man about a dream. “Behold, I had a dream,” he said, “and I saw a loaf of barley bread come tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent so hard that the tent overturned and collapsed.” His friend replied: “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon, son of Joash, the Israelite. God has delivered Midian and the whole camp into his hand.”
The dream gives Gideon the courage to defeat the Midianites. But shouldn’t Gideon, who was visited by an angel, protected from death, and tested the fleece with accuracy, should not this have been enough? Possibly, we need to venture into our own situations that are keeping us from coming forth from hiding from our enemies. Who are our enemies? One is in the mirror. Do we see ourselves as the least, unqualified, unworthy, unholy, unable, stuck in a cave or stronghold? How can we put out a fleece, tear down the idols in our house, and become men and women of courage/valor? How can we trust the Father and begin to have a large bounty of fruit like Gideon? This week meditate and ask yourself the more profound questions about your emotions or lack of. About your relationships, gifts, callings, and favor. What are your thoughts concerning yourself?
PS. If you have read any of my books and not left a review on amazon, I need at least 50 to show up while people are viewing. I would appreciate any honest reviews on my amazon page.
Tekoa (Bonnie) Manning
On a side note:” Archaeologists officially announced the discovery of a 3,100-year-old inscription from the site of Khirbet al-Ra‘i that may be evidence of Gideon the Judge.”