“One day the angel of GOD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, whose son Gideon was threshing wheat in the winepress, out of sight of the Midianites. The angel of GOD appeared to him and said, “ GOD is with you, O mighty warrior!”
Gideon replied, “With me, my master? If GOD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracle-wonders our parents and grandparents told us about, telling us, ‘Didn’t GOD deliver us from Egypt?’ The fact is, GOD has nothing to do with us—he has turned us over to Midian.” But GOD faced him directly: “Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?” Gideon said to him, “ Me, my master? How and with what could I ever save Israel? Look at me. My clan’s the weakest in Manasseh and I’m the runt of the litter.” GOD said to him, “I’ll be with you. Believe me, you’ll defeat Midian as one man.”Judges 6:11-16 MSG
Have you ever had someone compliment you, and even though you smiled and said thank you, you walked away saying to yourself “I wish I believed that.” You grapple with positive words being spoken about you, maybe because you have a poor self image of yourself. I love that God addresses us the way He sees us in light of His Son, and who They created us to be, rather than how life has made us see ourselves. Let me quote Bill Johnson as his statement is so relevant: “when we know who He made us to be, we’ll never want to be anyone else. He has wrapped His significance in the destiny of every person He called to Himself for salvation.” End quote. Isn’t that awesome?
Gideon and the people of Israel because of disobedience to God, had lost hope. God had given them into the hands of the Midianites because they had turned from Jehovah to serve the Baals. True to Himself, whenever He heard His people groaning, He’d send or raise up a deliverer. I especially love that He never calls the strong or qualified, but always someone who seems the most unlikely. He found Gideon threshing whatever little grain was left after the enemy had razed the harvest, in a wine press. As Gideon put it, his clan was the one voted least likely to do anything noteworthy.
Yet God saw the warrior He had created. Even though he was hiding God was calling him to his purpose. Who finds a mighty man of valor hiding in a hole? Our current situation may have us thinking we’re nobodies, but God sees a champion.
He will never address us by our estimation of ourselves, but by who He has called us to be. He calls forth what He’s put in. My former pastor DeMola was known for these words. “ Don’t judge my future destination by my current location.”
Whenever we walk in willful disobedience to the Word of God, we will always face leanness. Fear is also a trademark of the unrepentant heart. When the Angel of the Lord (Jesus) appeared to Gideon, he questioned the faithfulness of God. In chapter 6:13 he asked; “if the Lord is with us why has all this happened?” But prior to that, in verses 7-10 we learn why they’re in the mess they’ve found themselves in, WILLFUL DISOBEDIENCE.
Isn’t it amazing that we always forget our role in the mess? God told them what to do to keep His favor, they do whatever they pleased, then ask why🤦♀️ we’re a funny lot.
But how good and faithful is our God? We cry and He shows up. Hallelujah! I don’t know why He chose Gideon, I don’t know why He chose me! But He sees more in us than we see in ourselves. Hello mighty woman/man of God reading these words today! God has an assignment for you. He’s calling you out of the wine press you’re hiding in, to do great exploits for Him. Your low self esteem isn’t a problem, neither is your past or present rebellion. He specializes in hardened hearts. He knows the time of your transformation. You may question why you’re in the pit, but I love that He didn’t respond to Gideon. To respond would probably bring His well deserved wrath. He showed mercy instead.
To the question of why? Jesus said in verse 13. “Go in the strength you have. What! The strength you have! The guy is in a hole in the ground hiding trying to thresh enough grain for a loaf of bread. “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. 😳gulp. (Gideon’s reaction) The last line of the verse was to bring courage to Gideon and us. “AM I not sending you?” Or I AM is sending you! Gideon was like-Not so fast, Angel. We need a little more than I AM sending you. Let’s talk about this. Lol doesn’t that sound like us? God speaks to us, this is Almighty God we’re talking about here. The One who never lies. We ask, are you sure you’ve got the right guy? You’re know it’s me you’re talking to right? The guy in the hole hiding out? Go read it for yourself read all of chapter 6. God is so patient with us.
Gideon repeats the thing about how weak his clan is, how insignificant they and he were. Duh! God knew that when He found him in the hole. I wrote these words in the margin of my Bible. God sought out the insignificant and insecure, to carry out the unimaginable or unthinkable. You see, if you’re humble He can exalt you, so He will be glorified. Still the Angel ignores his complaint, and speaks to who he is. He speaks to the champion in him. He repeats His original promise to be with him. But now, as with us, Gideon wants his own proof. Never mind that God said “I’ll be with you.” The Lord called me petulant awhile back because I did basically the same thing Gideon was doing. He told me He retired me so to let Him take care of me. When things started to go crazy, I freaked out on God. Lol. He simply told me when I tried to repent, that I was petulant. So I totally get Gideon. Praise His beautiful Name. He kept and is keeping His promise as He did with Gideon. He has been taking care of me in my retirement years, nine and counting. He hasn’t missed a beat. I’m here to testify that He is everything He says He is! Hallelujah!!
Gideon did his fleece thing, God was accommodating, but He knew that Gideon was still fearful. Psalm 103:14. Without the Spirit of God, we are powerless to carry out the plan of God. God had found the perfect man for the job, the man just hadn’t seen himself in that light. We’re wired to do everything He calls us to do. He will only call forth what He has already put in. Because Gideon continued to doubt, God set up another scenario to further build his faith. He does the same for us. Each time He answers our prayers our faith is built up. In chapter 7, and I hope you’ll read all of Gideon’s exploits, we read how God followed through on His promise to be with him, He had Gideon reduce an army from thirty two thousand to three hundred. Why? Let’s read verse 2 of chapter seven:
“The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’”Judges 7:2 NIV
The whole purpose here, was to bring Israel back to a place of trusting in God for their help and deliverance. Can you imagine going from thousands to a few hundred? The fear in Gideon had been passed on to twenty two thousand. So after the final reduction, God allowed Gideon to receive the final confidence booster. What a patient Father we serve. Thank you Jesus! Let’s continue reading from verse nine of chapter seven:
“During that night the Lord said to Gideon, “Get up, go down against the camp, because I am going to give it into your hands. If you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah and listen to what they are saying. Afterward, you will be encouraged to attack the camp.” So he and Purah his servant went down to the outposts of the camp. The Midianites, the Amalekites and all the other eastern peoples had settled in the valley, thick as locusts. Their camels could no more be counted than the sand on the seashore. Gideon arrived just as a man was telling a friend his dream. “I had a dream,” he was saying. “A round loaf of barley bread came tumbling into the Midianite camp. It struck the tent with such force that the tent overturned and collapsed.” His friend responded, “This can be nothing other than the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God has given the Midianites and the whole camp into his hands.” When Gideon heard the dream and its interpretation, he bowed down and worshiped. He returned to the camp of Israel and called out, “Get up! The Lord has given the Midianite camp into your hands.” Judges 7:9-15 NIV
How good is God? He allowed him to hear the dream that helped him overcome once for all, his insecurity and fear. But the real takeaway is that God did not change His mind about His choice of a deliverer for His people. Child of God, He has not changed His mind about you. Whatever dreams He’s given you, whatever He has spoken to your heart, know this; He will be with you to bring it to pass. Hallelujah! Whatever lies you may tell yourselves, He knows who He’s created you to be. Yes, you may be from the other side of the track, yes, no one else went to college, yes, your entire family may be plagued with promiscuity, yes, everyone in your family has poor medical history, yes, you’re considered the black sheep. Whatever your truth may be-Know this: His Truth trumps your reality every day. If He calls you a mighty man/woman of valor, that’s who you are! If He calls you beautiful, chosen, overcomer, healed, whole, prosperous, successful child of the Most High God! Shout it from the rooftops, that’s who you are! Hallelujah!
When you read through Gideon’s story you find that the 300 didn’t even have to engage the enemy. When God is with you, all you need to do is show up and be obedient. Verse 22. We are who He says we are. After the great victory the people wanted Gideon to rule over them. Let’s read. This is very important for all of us to learn, and we’ll close.
“The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.”Judges 8:22-23 NIV
They still didn’t get it! It wasn’t about who God raised up to deliver them, it was about God. Never allow anyone to put you where God didn’t send you. Never become a god to anyone. He alone is the Deliverer. We are not the source just the resource. He reduced the army, He could’ve used just Gideon, but he was afraid. And even with the three hundred, all they did was sound the trumpets, break their pots to shine the light which I believe represented the Spirit of God, and held their positions. God did the rest. The enemy that looked like locusts, turned on themselves Judges 7:21-22.
When man wants to set you up in the place of God, RUN! Gideon answered well. God will rule over you. We always want superhero’s that’s why we end up disappointed. Gideon knew it wasn’t about him. He remembered where God found him. Do you? I believe some people get caught up in the blessings of God and forget that it’s not by might nor power but by His Spirit. To listen to some folks you’d think they created themselves. Every word begins with “I” if we’re not careful we will start strong and end weak. Listen to what was said on Gideon’s epithet: Judges 8:24-27
“And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.) They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each of them threw a ring from his plunder onto it. Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.” Judges 8:24-25, 27 NIV
All this after he refused their request to rule over them. The very thing that caused God to give them into the hands of the Midianites, he left as a legacy for the next generation. Whether it was his intent or not, to take the plunder and make an object to represent his victory would be received as something to be worshipped. May this be a warning to us. Never make the gifts of God an idol. Never worship anything or anyone God brings to our lives. He alone is deserving of our worship. Never forget where He found you, where He called you from. Be it the pit or the palace, you needed His salvation. I’d rather pass on my faith in God than an object that causes the next generation to stumble. Selah
Father in the Name of Jesus, How grateful I am that you found me and changed my life. You pulled me out of the muck and mire of my sin, washed me in your cleansing blood, clothed me in Your righteousness and sit me in heavenly places with Christ. Hallelujah! If I get ahead of myself, remind me of where you brought me from. Lost, broken and insecure. You called me mighty, redeemed and whole. You gave me Your Word that You’re with me. Help me finish strong in you. In Jesus Name. Amen
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1
Defender (Lyrics) – Francesca Battistelli ft. Steffany Gretzinger
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit