Then the LORD turned to him and said, "Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!
Judges 6:14 (NLT)
He wasn't strong and he wasn't brave. In fact when we first read about him, he is threshing wheat, not openly but at a bottom of a winepress in order to hide what he is doing from the Midianites. These were not the actions of a "brave" man, a hero and yet that is exactly how the angel of the Lord addresses him. The word used is "gibbor" (Strong's Hebrew 1368) and it means strong mighty, a champion, chief, excel, giant, man, mighty man, one, strong man. The angel also tells Gideon something else. He tells Gideon that the Lord is with him.
I wonder if Gideon's initial response was took look around to see if the angel was actually talking to someone else. Surely this message was meant for someone else! Perhaps the angel got mixed up in his directions and he was really supposed to be delivering this message to the big out-spoken guy down the street. Nope! The message was addressed to him.
Gideon gets off to a great start, sigh... He begins by attempting to discredit God's message. How could God possibly be with him? He was covertly threshing wheat hoping he would not be discovered and he would be able to feed his family. If God was with him, he would not need to do that, would he? Where were the miracles? Why had God not only abandoned them but turned them over to their enemies. Contrary to what the angel said, as far as Gideon was concerned, God was not with him and in fact had even attacked his people via the Midianites. As far as Gideon was concerned, the situation was hopeless. He could only make the best of it and try to put bread on the table for his family to keep them from starving.
How often do we read God's promises and convince ourselves they are not for us? "That might have been true back in my great-great-great grandfather's day but it is no longer true for me!" We might not actually say the words but the words are in our heart. God has abandoned us because we are in trouble. How easily we forget that the Word of God tells us he will never leave or forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6,8 and Hebrews 13:5). How easy it is to forget that God is the One Who Goes Before You!
Gideon wanted to see the miracle before it happened and so do we. How easy it would be to believe if God submitted his plans to us for our approval. That's what we think but I believe we are wrong. I'm afraid that like Gideon, we would still drag our feet and ask God for yet another sign...just to be sure.
It is time to stop listening to the doubting voices within and around us and start listening to God. He does not tell us to wait until we are big enough, strong enough or smart enough because quite frankly, we never will be. Instead God is telling us the same thing he told Gideon. "Go with the strength you have."
You might not be a great orator but you can open your mouth. You might not have a degree in theology but you can share what God has done in your life. You might not be able to go across the ocean as a missionary but you can go across your yard out into your neighborhood. You are not and never will be big enough, strong enough or smart enough but you don't have to be because God is. The only thing you have to do is simply trust and obey God. That's what Gideon eventually did and that's when he saw the miracle.
Scripture quotation from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.®Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo credit: FilippoL1982