After the time of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, each of the tribes settled in the land allocated to them. Since, the Israelites had not completely conquered or subdued all the various Canaanite people-groups as a nation, it was left to the tribes to fight against the Canaanites still remaining in the land they occupied.
The Israelite tribes often formed regional alliances among themselves to fight against the Canaanites. And the Canaanites often formed coalitions with one another and with people groups surrounding the land of Canaan to fight against the Israelites.
When the Israelites began to practice the idolatry of the Canaanites that they allowed to remain in the land, God “gave them into the hands” of the Canaanites. In this case it was the Midianites in alliance with the Amalekites.
The strategy the Midianites used to invade northern Israel was to consume or destroy the produce of the land so that Israel had no crops or livestock to sustain them. When the Israelites cried out to God to deliver them, He chose Gideon from the clan of Abiezer from the tribe of Manasseh to save the northern tribes from the Midianites.
Before Gideon became Israel’s leader, God first required him to destroy the altars of Baal in his own family: “Take your father’s bull…and pull down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of this stronghold” (vs. 25-26).
Once the idols were eliminated from his own home, then God prepared Gideon to lead Israel against Midian: “So the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon; and he blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him. And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them” (vs. 34-35).
God’s anointing was preceded by a call to holiness. A vessel always had to be purified before it could be put into service in the tabernacle or temple. Likewise, the place inhabited by God must first be purified; it must be made holy. God doesn’t dwell nor is His glory manifested in a place that is not holy. God can’t be served by a vessel that has not been sanctified.
While no one is without defects as was certainly the case with Gideon, there is an expectation by both God and people that one’s own house is in order before trying to oversee God’s house. Otherwise, it’s hypocrisy!
So, before receiving power to lead God’s people, the leader must be sanctified by God. In fact, divine empowerment necessitates personal holiness.
To lead people to Christ, they must be able to see Christ in you!
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth. (Acts 1:8, NASB)