March 2, 2022
Thank you for praying today for our prodigals and for revival. While we all feel a great sense of weakness, we can be thankful that God’s power is able to work mightily through that weakness.
Paul David Tripp says, “Remember, it’s not your weakness that gets in the way of God’s working through you, but your delusions of strength. His strength is made perfect in our weakness! Point to His strength by being willing to admit your weakness.” How countercultural is that!
This was the case in point with Gideon, whose name is next in the list of Hebrews 11 faith heroes. “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon” (Hebrews 11:32).
In this section of Hebrews there is a list of names that honors each individual as a person of faith, but it is left to the reader to determine what that faith involves. Gideon’s full story can be read in Judges 6-8.
The times were hard. The Scriptures reveal Israel’s deplorable condition: “And Israel was brought very low because of Midian” (Judges 6:6). These words held a hard punch for God’s people. They had turned against the Lord and suffered for 7 years under the enemy's domination. Their crops were being stolen. They were living in caves and dens in fear for their lives.
So God raised up a man of faith!
But first, He had to turn him into a man of faith. Gideon didn’t think of himself as a man of faith. Initially, he thought he was good for nothing. When God first appeared, and called him a mighty man of valor, Gideon questioned God’s faithfulness (Judges 6:13-14). Then he stated, “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” (Judges 6:15).
Gideon’s perception of himself was partially true but not fully accurate. His clan was the weakest and he was the youngest in his family, but he underestimated the power of God. God was going to raise him up and give him the faith and confidence to become a victorious conqueror. Gideon’s mighty valor would not come from physical prowess or ability, but from the Lord who was working in him.
“We sometimes equate faith with strength or resolve. Those two are evident but not in the way we think of strength and resolve as humans. It’s God’s strength. As people of God, our faith is exercised amidst profound weakness, anxiety, and lack of ability” (Ross Rodgers).
Despite his fear and the oppression of his people, Gideon responded to God’s call by taking a step of faith. “Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace” (Judges 6:24). In a time when there was anything but peace, Gideon made his statement of faith clear, “The LORD is Peace.” He was saying: “I don’t care what others say. I don’t care how things appear. I don’t care that everything humanly speaking is pointing in the other direction. The truth is the truth, ‘The LORD is Peace.’”
Then to prove his stand, he obeyed the Lord and tore down the altar of Baal. Was he afraid? Yes! Did he do it at night so no one would know? Yes! But he did it nonetheless. And God sustained and protected him from the angry men of the town (Judges 6:28-33).
What about the fleece story? Was Gideon doubting God again? Yes, probably! But at least he was working through his fear and through his doubt, and bringing God into those areas of his experience. He was not shutting God out and pushing through on his own strength. Again, God proved His power and revealed His presence with Gideon (Judges 6:36-40).
God’s intention was to bring deliverance to His people. But how? It wasn’t going to be through a large army, nor through Israel’s power or Gideon’s military expertise. God was going to use a human weakness to bring about great victory.
Judges 7 tells us how Gideon’s army was reduced from 32,000 men to 10,000, then down to a mere 300 to fight a formidable army. That’s a very large drop in resources! It was God showing him and us that He could do the job without us, but that He delights in using human weakness to carry out the big things of life. In the end, Gideon didn’t even use swords and spears. God won this battle by using jars, torches, and trumpets. Amazing!
Gideon’s faith was a faith that honored God. When the jars were smashed, the 300 shouted, “A sword for the LORD and for Gideon” (Judges 7:20). The glory of this battle was to go to God, and so it should be in the battles of our lives.
As we go through this day, as we face enemy forces, as we move forward in human weakness, as we struggle with inner fear and anxiety, let us, like Gideon, step out in faith and prove that God is able.
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel