After being denied sustenance in Succoth, Gideon pursues similar support in Peniel, to the same end. A vehement no! from the men of Peniel garners similar threats of retribution from Gideon. When he returns this way on the way back home, he states that the tower he is facing will be torn down. Do the men of Peniel respond in fear? For that matter, did a similar threat to scourge the men of Succoth with briars and thorns cause them to give in? The word tells us no and that the army of God’s purpose moved on under the power of the Lord.
Church leaders can find a second item of interest in this passage. It is sometimes the case that we can misread external signals thinking that they guide our purpose. If Gideon had asked of God for sustenance, relying on the people of Succoth and Peniel to be the answerers of this prayer, he may have been tempted to turn back and question his own interpretation of the mission. Maybe not at the first denial, but perhaps the second. How many times have we, as church leaders, been certain of God’s calling to a specific purpose only to find obstacle after obstacle in our way. What is the magic number of denials that we count before we turn back? Maybe our practice needs to be …one more than that.