Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the people of the east assembled together; and they crossed over [the Jordan] and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. So the Spirit of the Lord [o]clothed Gideon [and empowered him]; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together [as a militia] to follow him. He sent messengers throughout [the tribe of] Manasseh, and the fighting men were also called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to [the tribes of] Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them. – Judges 6:33-35
The Midianites, along with their “eastern allies,” assembled, apparently to reestablish their dominance over the Israelites. They crossed the Jordan River and assembled in the Jezreel Valley. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, empowering him to lead the Israelites in battle against this awesome military force. Gideon blew the trumpet to call his fellow Abiezrites to follow him in battle. What a change has occurred here. Those who recently demanded that Gideon be put to death now willingly follow him into battle with a vastly larger army. And this change of heart spread from Gideon’s clan to the entire tribe (or Manasseh), and when messengers were sent out to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, they likewise gathered for war.
If a candle represents the life of an ordinary person who is submitted to God and cooperating with God, then a torch represents the life of a man or woman who is being empowered by the Holy Spirit. A candle is good, but during times of special need, a torch is better by far.
In both Testaments, the Holy Spirit comes upon people to empower them for acts they could not do themselves or at the very least could not do as well themselves as when empowered.
The book of JUDGES show the faithfulness of the Lord to His covenant. Whenever His people repented and turned from their evil ways, the Lord always forgave them and raised up Spirit-empowered leaders to deliver them from their oppressors.
The LORD was with the judges in their work. So to impugn the work of the judge is to impugn the work of the LORD through that judge. I am not saying that the judges were sinless, perfect people. With regard to their callings, however, they were faithful by God’s grace through the power of his Spirit. Additionally, it is important to see that when God’s appointed leaders do fall into sin, the Bible is always ready to point it out.
Despite being clear about the will of God, being empowered by the Spirit of God, and being confirmed as a divinely chosen leader by the overwhelming response of his countrymen to his own summons to battle, he uses every means available to try to get out of the mission to which he’s been called.
What he has spoken to Gideon, he is speaking to us. The Lord is saying, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel.” God is saying, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.” He says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of a sound mind.” He says to us, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” He says, “When you are weak, then you are strong in the Lord.” He says, “Put on the full armor of God and stand against all spiritual forces of evil.” He tells us, “Overcome the devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of your testimony.” He tells us, “Resist the defeated devil and he will flee from you.” He says, “I will be with you and you will fight and you will win.” He says, “Peace to you. The peace of God that passes all human understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” He declares, “Peace to you. Do not be afraid; you will not die.” – Judges 6:14; Acts 1:8; 2 Tim. 1:7; Eph. 6:10; 2 Cor. 12:10; Eph. 6:13; Rev. 12:11; 1 Pet. 5:9; Phil. 4:7; Judges 6:23.