We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Aaron Martell.
Judge 6:11-1611 Now the angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And the Lord said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
How does God approach Gideon? Yes, through an angel, but what does he say to Gideon, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Which is really cool, God calling you mighty warrior. But what is Gideon doing? It wasn’t his best impression of Gladiator. No, he was threshing the wheat in a winepress.
If you read the beginning of the passage, you would also know that Israel is falling down all around him as the Midianites are taking siege to his country. Yet, Gideon is playing it safe, staying comfortable, minding his own business. God declares to someone who wants to stay away and stay comfortable, “You are a mighty warrior.”
Hold that thought- But then notice Gideon’s response to God’s declaration. Gideon challenges God back. Wait a minute?! God invites Gideon into more, and Gideon responds with, “Where have you been? If you were really with us, you would have been here. Our misery is because you abandoned us.”
Then God says, “Not so fast”, “No you go in strength and save Israel, am I not sending you?” God is essentially saying, “Am I not answering your cries, I want you to do it?” You have to appreciate Gideon’s persistence towards God. Because then he says, “Who am I? My clan is the weakest and I’m the least in my family.” I can’t live out what you are inviting me into. God lovingly declares, “I will be with you and you WILL (save Israel).”
I think this is a great story and a glimpse into discussions that many of us have with God. We don’t hear what God is calling us into, we possibly have unresolved hurt or angst towards God and challenge him back with, “Why haven’t you done something before.” To the point where we don’t see we are valuable enough, strong enough, worthy enough.
True strength isn’t in what we think it is; in what we can do, or how strong we are, or even our own accomplishments or failures. True Strength is seeing who God says we are, trusting His strength and presence. Gideon found himself on the pressing floor, wondering why God had left Israel, and believing that he was too weak to do anything about it.
God says, “I see a mighty warrior, filled with my strength, and confident of my presence.” Because of that and only that Gideon was able to live into True Strength. Today, where do you feel weak? Insignificant? Where could God be calling you into something more that you don’t feel adequate for? Maybe even an area where you thought God was silent? What does it mean for you not to bulldoze your way through it? But to see yourself how God sees you, to ask for his strength and depend on presence.
Heavenly Father, I confess that so much of life I want to live on my own and in my strength, at times in my own comfort areas. But may I begin to see myself as you see me and may I grow in awareness of your presence and strength in my life, to do the impossible. I commit myself to your strength. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Meet with God and ask Him what he sees in you. But also, what you see in yourself. Does the list compare? If not, take some time with a trusted Christ follower to work through the disconnect.
- What area do you feel weak or inadequate in? How do you need God’s strength? What would that look like for you to depend on His strength for that situation?
- Finally, what does it mean to you to hear God’s promise, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” It’s a promise and because God is good on his promises, how do you need to hold onto his promise of presence? Where do you not sense or trust his presence? Can you ask God to show you His presence in that area? (Be prepared for it to look differently than what you expect). Knowing that all of this is to prepare you to do the impossible.
God, lead me to your True Strength.
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