Testing God

by Chris Babcock
Chris Babcock Lawless author feature

Sometimes, the “heroes” of the Bible are more human than we give them credit for.

My role in the Lawless anthology involved adapting the first half of Gideon’s story, while my brother adapted the second half. It was the first time the two of us carried through on a joint project, but it turned out to be a dream duo.

While plotting, Jonathan had an epiphany moment. He noticed that Gideon tested God three times, and so God also tested Gideon three times. In other words, the weird trials in Judges 7 (like drinking out of cupped hands vs. lapping the water with your tongue) are not random. God was willing to answer Gideon’s requests for a sign, but he also asked for huge faith in return if they wanted victory.

I’d never realized the double repetition of three, although such themes pop up all over the Old Testament.

Working on the story really forced me to imagine the story through fresh eyes. I came to realize that Gideon was a true antihero—he defeated the Canaanites but ended up succumbing to the paganism around him. As a rare character in Judges with any Jesus-like qualities, we tried to show that he was a hero with a fatal flaw—his pride and idol worship set a nasty precedent for those who came later.

Like Gideon/Gilly, I’m still learning how to hear God’s voice and trust him. I sometimes oscillate between insecurity and pride. It’s easy to second-guess the signs and guidance that He gives us. Did God really say that? It’s also easy to turn our God-given victories into idols.

This is why in The Mark: Part 1, I chose to portray Gilly not just as a dashing young warrior but also as an old man bent by the burden of years. In Judges 8:27, it says, “Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.”

We didn’t have space to fully explore Gideon’s idolatry, but I tried to portray an old man wrestling with his mistakes and his pride.

I don’t know how Gideon’s life ended or where he stood with God, but I’d like to think that it was something like the way I wrote it—that he knew he was a broken man and that he still chose to embrace his Maker.

I can’t say I have everything figured out. But I am glad that God is patient with us. I’m grateful that He chooses to walk with imperfect people and invite them to join him.

And I’m thankful that He has big plans and dreams for us, even when it’s scary as Hell. Because that’s where we begin to find Heaven.


Lawless anthology book cover

Get your own copy of Lawless and see what all the buzz is about on AmazonLawless is available in paperback and e-book, and available for free to members of Kindle Unlimited.

Released January 18, 2024, Lawless quickly became a #1 bestselling book on Amazon. Join the community of readers ready for a new era of Christian fiction. Grab your copy today, read it, and leave an honest review.

Produced by The Company, Lawless features 14 short stories inspired by the biblical book of Judges, each written by an emerging Christian author.

Chris Babcock

Chris Babcock’s adventures have taken him from the Thar desert of India to the rainforest slopes of Malawi. He loves sci-fi and fantasy, especially books that deal truthfully with difficult topics. If you think it must be awkward for him to write about himself in third person—he thinks so, too.

Chris Babcock

Chris Babcock’s adventures have taken him from the Thar desert of India to the rainforest slopes of Malawi. He loves sci-fi and fantasy, especially books that deal truthfully with difficult topics. If you think it must be awkward for him to write about himself in third person—he thinks so, too.

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