Gideon would lead the Israelites into military victory. He would become a commanding leader who had guts enough to tear down pagan altars and incur the wrath of enemies. But, he just didn’t know it yet.
When we first meet Gideon, there has been a multi-layered starvation in Israel. First, the Midianites kept destroying their produce (Judges 6:5-6), and then they experience the type of starvation of God’s Presence due to faithlessness. (Judges 6:7-10) Gideon has not seen such amazing Red Sea parting deliverance in his people. He’s grown up under poverty and oppression. Yet, when God speaks to Gideon, he says “The LORD is with you, you mighty warrior.” v.12)
Yes! An angel of the LORD just spoke. Just called him a warrior. God is with him. And, what is this mighty warrior’s response? He scratches his head and looks around. Are you talking to me, God?
Basically, he met the LORD with doubt. Yep. If You were with us, we’d have seen You more. We’d have felt You more. In fact, if God was with us, then “Why has all this happened to us?” (v13)
Thank God that He is patient when we are myopic. When we are too stuck in our problems to see that we’ve created the bulk of them, or ignored the way out of them. The angel responds in spite of Gideon “Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of the Midianites;I hereby commision you.”(v14)
Fling any excuse you want at God.
I’ve done it. I’m too scared. Too unprepared. I’ve screwed up too much. Or, go deeper. God, I don’t believe who You say You are. I don’t trust in Your power enough. If You were so real and powerful, then I’d see You more. (never mind my faithlessness or the pagan altars I keep ignoring in my life). When God’s got plans for you, He equips you. His power and His purposes far outweigh any lack of ability or faith on your part.
Finally, Gideon comes clean. Speaking to the angel he asks “But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” v 15
How can he, really? How can any of us? How do people who have felt marginalized and oppressed at worst, or just plain flat in the mountain moving department, accomplish anything of any significance for God? What is God thinking when He taps the shoulder of the least person in the weakest part of Israel? What does that reveal about God’s love and plans when He skips over the strongest, wisest, most popular, and chooses the one no one would ever imagine being a warrior?
So glad I serve that God. Loved by that God. Fueled by that God’s Spirit.
How can an introvert talk to people about Jesus? How can an incredibly disorganized creative spirit blog or write a book? How can we raise a kid, help people out of human trafficking, battle cancer, stand up to oppression in our neighborhoods, lead people to the healing power of Jesus Christ? The answer lies in v.16 “The LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike down the Midianites, every one of them.”
In the final analysis, it’s not our strength or depth of character or giftedness. It’s about our obedience to keep saying Yes, whether it is a drip after drip of faith, or a wild, rushing river of powerful belief, we say Yes. Again and again to God.
Who, by the way, calls you warrior. Equips you for battle. And promises to be with you. Get going.