Judges 6:11-24a; Psalm 85 The Lord speaks of peace to his people; Matthew 19:23-30
We have turned our attention to the book of Judges. Moses has died. Joshua has died. Now the people are tending to themselves, and as we might imagine, this is a dangerous thing. In the absence of leadership things do not go so well.
There is a pattern in the life of the nation Israel as we encounter it in the book of Judges. The people turn away from God, then they get in to trouble, then they cry out to God for help as they ask for forgiveness, then God sends a judge to lead then forth and they are restored. Then they are faithful for a time. And soon they turn away from God and the cycle continues.
Today we encounter the calling of Gideon. This is one of my favorite stories in the bible.
Gideon is approached by the angel of the Lord with these words, "The LORD is with you, O champion." How is that for a greeting!
God is already recognizing Gideon's worth though Gideon himself does not see it in himself. This certainly affirms what we know about God how he will equip those he calls.
But I love Gideon's response, "if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us?"
There is a lot of meaning in that line. How often we find ourselves looking at the mess of life and ask the same question, "Lord, if you are here then why all of this?" Why does this stuff we do not like keep entering our life? If you are here Lord, then couldn't you save us from ourselves?
Many time the mess of life can be overwhelming and can leave us a bit discouraged. Yet the truth of the angel is not lessen because of our experience of life.
God is with us. He is true to his word.
But sometimes we are not with him. Sometimes we leave God. This is certainly the case for the Israelites time and time again.
God gives us freedom and he gives us room to exercise that freedom. Sometimes we use it selfishly and it causes a mess.
What is God's response to Gideon
"Go with the strength you have and save Israel from the power of Midian."
Go with what you Got and God is promising to provide what is lacking. Again, these are encouraging words. God sees strength in us that we do not see ourselves. God promises to provide where we are lacking if we just follow his lead and his will.
Is there anything more encouraging for us then this?
Yet, Gideon still hesitates. "My family is the lowest and I am the most insignificant in my father's house." Lord, why do you keep picking on me, can't you see that I am nothing. I have no skill. I am not highly favored.
Our often do we let our own lowly estimation of ourselves interfere with God's high regard for us as he calls us forth.
There is a champion in all of us. If we use the strength we have God will provide where we are lacking.
God never quits on Gideon. God is very patient. The lowest becomes exalted.