Few things in the world give mankind a greater sense of fear or helplessness than does international terrorism. According to one count, a major terrorist incident happens somewhere on our planet once every three hours. Terrorism unrestrained not only afflicts the innocent but has the potential to immobilize governments and wreak havoc on civilization itself.
Much of the terrorism making today’s headlines centers around the tiny nation of Israel. That’s nothing new, for satanically inspired terrorists have plagued Israel since ancient times. The remedy for terrorism then is still applicable today.
In the 13th century B.C., Israel was the brunt of severe terrorist activity by marauders from Midian, Amalek and other neighboring nations. The land of Israel was repeatedly plundered by these “hijackers” until the people were reduced to abject poverty and many fled to the mountains where they hid out in caves and dens.
At last the people of Israel began to cry out to God to deliver them. In answer to their prayers an angel appeared to one of the least likely persons imaginable, a man named Gideon, and gave him instructions on how to end the terrorism.
Gideon’s family was the poorest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and he was the least respected of the entire family. At the very moment the angel appeared to Gideon he was on his father’s farm threshing wheat while hiding in the bottom of a pit for fear of the Midianites.
God’s messenger instructed Gideon that the way to deal with terrorism was not to hide from his persecutors, but to recruit an army to fight them. Gideon did not take a defensive stance, but with a select hand-picked corps of 300 men he crept up on the main encampment of his enemies during the night. Just after midnight Gideon’s small band surprised the enemy with a piece of strategy which involved psychological warfare. The sleeping terrorists were so confused and frightened that they began fighting and killing one another in a mad frenzy. The Midianites who survived fled into the night. Gideon then called upon Israel’s allies to join in the chase.
During his pursuit of the Midianites, Gideon captured a young soldier from Succoth. Unlike the captured terrorists who we have recently seen freed to return to their diabolical activities, Gideon forced this young soldier to give him the names of all the 77 leaders of the mob. He then returned to the city of Succoth and rounded up the instigators of the terrorism. Although these hoodlums were disguised as political and religious leaders, they were arrested and promptly executed.
Gideon’s actions would cause some dovish souls to see him as a man of violence and bloodshed. Actually Gideon was a man who loved peace and respected human life. By destroying a few terrorists he was insuring the peace and safety of a far greater number of innocent people.
Gideon had no political aspirations. Other tribal leaders of Israel were jealous of his success but Gideon was quick to share the credit and glory, telling them that their actions at the end of the battle were more important than his at the beginning. When the people of Israel tried to make Gideon king he refused their offer. All he wanted to do was live out the rest of his life in peace.
After his victory Gideon lived for 40 years, during which time Midian never recovered and there was no terrorism in Israel.
Those who intercede for peace would do well to pray for another Gideon, bold enough to act decisively against the terrorism so rampant in our world today, without thought for political power or personal glory.