God, Help Me to Train a Gideon

The book of Judges, chapters six through eight, records the amazing and true story of the servant of God named Gideon. In the providence of God, this young man was raised up to help deliver God’s people from the oppression of the Midianites. Although initially timid and indecisive, Gideon was steadily strengthened by the Lord in order that he might fulfill his holy mission. Seldom in the history of ancient Israel did God choose to use one man in such a mighty way. By God’s grace, when Gideon was weak he had the wisdom to lean upon the Lord’s might and, in the process, deliver Israel from the yoke of heathen bondage. The labors of this faithful leader gained peace and rest for the people of God for more than forty years.

The opening of the twenty-first century finds the people of God experiencing a growing yoke of oppression from a multiplicity of sources. Even in the formerly Christian nations of the West, churches and families are steadily finding themselves trodden under foot of men (Matt.5:13) as they have neglected to be salt and light within their respective cultures. The age-old clash between the forces of Satan and the people of God has indeed begun to escalate. Christian home educators must, therefore, recognize the urgent need to labor diligently and pray that God would use their efforts to raise up the type of dynamic and courageous leaders that the Church so desperately needs.

For far too long Christian parents and church leaders have vainly imagined that they can produce strong and godly leaders while they permit their children to be trained in Pharaoh’s court. Such thinking explains, in large measure, why there are so few young adults in the world today who are prepared to stand in the gap and be counted for Christ. The Christian church and the family are learning the hard way that “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” It is profoundly naïve for those who love the Lord to think that dynamic Christian leaders can be constructed by using man-centered textbooks, carnally minded educators, and humanistic philosophies.

In 1943 the famous Christian author C. S. Lewis published a book titled The Abolition of Man. In this work, Lewis argues that it is foolish for people to suppose that godly, courageous men can be made within an educational environment that is profoundly materialistic and secular. C. S. Lewis wrote:

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful. We strip young men and women of the certainty that they are created in the image of God, and we are surprised when they act like the beasts of the field.”

More than sixty-five years ago, C. S. Lewis recognized what most Christians living in the West today refuse to acknowledge: We have no business supposing that Almighty God will bless a nation with godly leaders when righteousness is permitted to be removed from the sphere of learning. As the Scriptures so clearly state, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

Until professing Christians get on their knees and repent of their unwillingness to follow a biblical approach for the training and education of their children, they can scarcely expect the Lord to grant them the ability to raise up Gideons who can help to heal their land. It is not good luck or fate that sends courageous and just leaders into a society, but God. Every child born into this world comes to the planet at just the precise moment of God’s choosing (Acts 13:36). The Lord alone knows whom to send to free a people from the poverty that is caused by their sin—and when such a person needs to be sent. God even knows to which household to send such a child so that he will be trained to accomplish all of his God-ordained destiny.

Parents in general, and home school parents in particular, need to embrace the truth that their children have been sent into the kingdom in accordance with God’s perfect timing. When parents truly comprehend this marvelous truth, they will then realize why they need to ask God for the boldness to pray that they would be granted the privilege to train up a Gideon or an Esther. How exciting it is for Christian home educators to walk by faith and to know that their labors are not in vain in the Lord—to know that their children, to one degree or another, will be used by God in future days to turn the hearts of people in the direction of righteousness.

More than 100 years ago Josiah Gilbert Holland penned the now-famous poem “God, Give Us Men!” It communicates so well the prayer that should be on the hearts and lips of God-fearing parents in every generation. Christian home school parents would do well to take the time to read this poem with their families as they earnestly pray for God to bless their labors to train up a whole flock of Gideons.

God give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
God give us men;
Men who serve not for selfish booty;
But real men, courageous, who flinch not at duty,
Men of sterling worth;
Then wrongs will be addressed;
And right will rule the earth.
God give us men!

Josiah Gilbert Holland – 1895

Gideon, the youngest man in his father’s house, was humble enough to doubt himself, yet wise and courageous enough to trust God to do the impossible. Christian parents and church leaders need to ask God to raise up more men like Gideon. The hour is later than most Christians in the West think. Such believers are, in many cases, already surrounded by their enemies and marked out for destruction. Now is the time for believers in this part of the world to plead with the Ruler of the nations to spare their lands from the chaos and destruction that they so richly deserve. While there is yet time, God’s people must bow before the throne of God to request that souls be sent into the kingdom who know that one dedicated Christian can chase a thousand enemies of the cross; who understand that if God be for us, no power on earth can stand against us; and who believe that the Lord can still perform wonders, even to the moving of mountains.

May God grant parents within the Christian home school community the vision and courage to persevere in the Christ-centered training of those who will be the leaders of tomorrow. If the once-great nations of the West are to have bright futures, it will only be because the Lord sees fit to raise up a new breed of men who are willing to walk in the old paths.