Gideon. One of the unsung heroes of the Bible. Or one we typically forget as compared to the champion characters of the Bible like Noah and Moses. Gideon and his men were the weakest men of the weakest tribe, basically bottom of the barrel as far as strength and agility goes. Gideon is hard at work when the angel of the Lord came and said, “The Lord is with you mighty warrior” to which Gideon replies and questions why the Israelites have been enslaved again, this time to the Midianites. The angel of the Lord doesn’t answer, but instead says, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” Gideon immediately points out that he and his men are the weakest, and the angel of the Lord tells him He will be with them. Gideon pushes the angel of the Lord further and asks for a sign that it is really God talking to him. After a goat is sacrificed and the angel “consumed” it through flames did Gideon believe that it was the one true God speaking to him. Gideon’s story continues but I’d like to focus on this part alone. Mainly because this is where I continue to find myself time after time.
My favorite part of this passage is when the angel of the Lord tells a weak Gideon to “go in the strength you have.” At this point I’d like to quote the popular phrase–“God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called”. God oftentimes uses the ability and strengths we already have within us for His glory and purpose. When we step into the will of God nothing can stop where God is going to take us. The road may be rocky and painful, but we must trust that if God asks us to jump, we must believe that He will catch us every time. It might feel like you’re plummeting to your death on a roller coaster at times, but typically God is waiting on us to either turn to Him or be obedient and listen to Him. We must have faith that He keeps His promise of “never leaving us nor forsaking us”.
Many times, and I know I’m not alone here, I yearn for God’s voice and direction in a thunderous way; you know a burning bush kind of way. He tells me what He wills for me, but I question, test, and sometimes even deny it. A close friend said to me recently, “just because God brought you there, doesn’t mean it’s supposed to work out. It could be something else entirely you’re supposed to get from the experience. Or it’s to be a steppingstone.” Well, that hit me right in the gut. In the past I’ve known without a doubt I’ve been in the will of God–doors were opening that only God could open and yet found myself in dire straits. I was left confused and hurt. I know I heard God. I know this is the plan He had made for me, why isn’t it working out? We expect His plan for us to be wrapped in a giant red bow and perfectly placed just for us with no more worry or pain. That’s the Happily Ever After that doesn’t exist–as long as we are on this sinful Earth and are a friend of Jesus, the world will hate us along with Satan. I want to be clear–His plan and will for us are perfect, but lots of things mess it up along the way–ourselves, the devil, other people, etc. Every day we must get up and pray for God’s will in our lives and seek Him and His plan for us daily. If we are constantly distracted, we will never hear Him. We want him to show up as a burning bush because we don’t have the patience to seek Him out anymore. We are bombarded with distractions and sadly we succumb to them. Our world has ripped our ability to sit in the quiet and Satan’s plan is working perfectly. A distracted man is not one who sits at his Bible seeking God. That hurts to hear and I’m sure it hurts to read, but it’s the sad reality we find ourselves in. I digress–that’s another whole blog post for another day.
Bottom line, if He can use a weak Gideon to save Israel, He can certainly use a (insert your strength and name here).