Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
Psalm 20:7 (NIV)
Series Focus: “Piece by Piece”
You’ve got the wrong person. This appears to be the theme of each story we’ve encountered so far in our blog series, “Piece by Piece.” I bet it could be the theme for some of our stories as well. God does the calling, we do the disputing. I wonder how many times I have countered God’s plan with one of my own? Or worse, ignored it altogether. Digging into scripture, we find the reward lies in the humble, obedient trust that God will equip and provide what we need for the calling He gives us.
Gideon is one of my favorite unlikely heroes of the Bible. By hero, I mean a man God chose for great purpose—for HIS glory. During this time, when Israel was doing evil in the sight of the Lord, He appointed different men and women to be Judges over them to point them back to Him. Gideon questioned his assignment. Let’s start with Gideon’s experience in Judges 6:11-14:
Then the angel of the Lord came and sat beneath the great tree at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash of the clan of Abiezer. Gideon son of Joash was threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress to hide the grain from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you! “Sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? And where are all the miracles our ancestors told us about? Didn’t they say, ‘The Lord brought us up out of Egypt’? But now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to the Midianites.” Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (NLT)
The Midianites were ruthless during their rule over Israel. They stole wheat, destroyed the land with herds of livestock, and ate all the produce of land. Many Israelites made dens in the mountains and caves to hide from the Midianites. How could the Angel of the Lord call Gideon, “Mighty Hero,” as he was hiding in a winepress threshing wheat? Gideon couldn’t believe it either, according to his response:
“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” Gideon replied, “If you are truly going to help me, show me a sign to prove that it is really the Lord speaking to me. (Judges 6:15-17 NLT)
Reading this passage stirs me with familiar feelings. First I take a moment to remind God how weak I am, then I ask for proof it is Him doing the asking. All the while, God is sovereign and knows exactly who I am and what I am capable of when I put my trust in Him. This assignment for Gideon was never about Gideon. It was about exalting the glory of God in the land!
Any assignment we are called to do is never about us, it is always about Him. In our weakness, He is strong. If He sends us, we claim the victory. Can you grasp the intensity of this? Nothing is greater than God’s power. But, like Gideon, we want proof.
Then Gideon said to God, “If you are truly going to use me to rescue Israel as you promised, prove it to me in this way. I will put a wool fleece on the threshing floor tonight. If the fleece is wet with dew in the morning but the ground is dry, then I will know that you are going to help me rescue Israel as you promised.” And that is just what happened. When Gideon got up early the next morning, he squeezed the fleece and wrung out a whole bowlful of water. Then Gideon said to God, “Please don’t be angry with me, but let me make one more request. Let me use the fleece for one more test. This time let the fleece remain dry while the ground around it is wet with dew.” So that night God did as Gideon asked. The fleece was dry in the morning, but the ground was covered with dew. (Judges 6:36-40 NLT)
Looks like Gideon had to face the truth of his assignment. God was patient with him and He is patient with us. His plan will succeed with or without our compliance, but wouldn’t you hate to miss the reward of knowing you trusted Him and brought Him glory? The story doesn’t end here. God gave small assignments to Gideon, preparing him for the next step in his journey. In the grand finale, God sent Gideon with an army, whittled down to 300 from 32,000 men to fight the entire gang of Midianites! God tapered this number down so there would be no mistake who won this battle. As fearful and insignificant as Gideon felt, he went forward and, with the Lord leading, he defeated the Midianites.
Gideon was not perfect in all of his ways, yet God used him. He made some mistakes along the way, but God used him. We don’t have to be flawless for our purpose to be revealed. He bids us to come to Him, and He does the rest.
Climb out of that winepress, and ask God to take you another step forward in your story. Go in His strength and He will be with you.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture references: Psalm 20:7, 68:35; Judges 6-8; Isaiah 41:10