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Jul
24

Gideon: Lessons in Trust from an Unlikely Hero

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Woman in worship positionGod calls us for the person we will become, not necessarily the person we are right now.”

— Lisa Bevere, Women of Faith speaker

The Israelites had “done evil in the sight of the Lord,” and had turned away from God, according to Judges Chapter six. So God had given them over into the hands of the oppressive Midianites for seven long years. During that time, the Midianites ravaged the land, forcing the children of Israel to live in cave dwellings, and they ransacked the crops and killed all the livestock. In fact the Bible says the Midianites “did not spare a living thing for Israel.”  Impoverished and desperate beyond belief, the Israelites had no choice but to call to God for help.

Soon thereafter, an angel appeared to Gideon, who by the way, was hiding in a wine press at the time. The angel said “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

God had chosen Gideon to defeat the Midianites.

Now let’s just say Gideon didn’t come from a family of highly decorated war heroes. And none of them would be drafted into the NFL, for sure. In fact, Gideon was admittedly small and meek. So to be called “mighty warrior?” He was in disbelief.  You can even hear him shaking in his sandals with his response:

 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (v. 14)

And you can almost see God slapping His forehead. HELLOOOO!? This is the Lord you’re talking to!

But God responded patiently:

 “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

God promised to go ahead of Gideon, to protect Him and to defeat the Midianites.

But that promise clearly wasn’t enough. In the following verses, Gideon asked several times for the Lord to give him signs, to prove this was really God calling him.

Isn’t that so much like us?  There are times in our lives that God has clearly spoken to us: to serve in a new ministry (or to start one), to change jobs, to move to another state, to start tithing, or even to foster a child.

But, like Gideon, we wallow in disbelief that God would choose us. And count all the reasons why we can’t do it.

I’m too weak.

I’m not good enough.

I’m not smart enough.

My budget is too tight.

There’s not enough time.

When we feel God’s calling in our lives, doubt creeps in. But all along, God is there, reminding us “Am I not sending you?”

Here are three lessons in trust you can take from the story of Gideon:

1.  God sees the big picture Our vision is limited, sometimes only seeing the potential roadblocks in the way. But as with Gideon, God is sending you into a new adventure.  He has gone before you and already knows what will happen.

 

The road may not always be easy, but He is always there to protect you and guide you, if you look to Him. Yes, we might be like Gideon and test God by asking for signs. And I believe God delights in showing us His power. In Psalm 86:17, even David calls out in his prayer for mercy: Give me a sign of your goodness, for you Lord have helped me and comforted me.

But also etch this truth from Deuteronomy 31:8 on your heart as you face seemingly impossible challenges:

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

2. God is patient as we grow in faith Gideon had many doubts as God called him to lead the Israelites into battle. God continually encouraged Gideon, telling him that He will go ahead of him – even going as far as promising that Gideon won’t die. But Gideon struggled to see the big picture. He was probably sucking in his gut and flexing his non-existent muscles in the mirror, not feeling real encouraged at the reflection staring back at him.

But with each sign Gideon asked for, God kindly answered.  The Lord had patience with Gideon, matching kind reassurance to each doubt….building Gideon into a fully convinced servant.

It’s the same with us. God calls us. But be certain the enemy will tell us that we don’t measure up to the task at hand.

But here is a truth that was spoken at a Women of Faith conference I recently attended:

God calls us for the person we will become, not necessarily the person we are right now. (Lisa Bevere)

He called Gideon “mighty warrior.” What is God calling you?

3. Success is through God’s power, not our own

As the story progresses, Gideon grows to be a confident warrior, gathering thousands of the Israelites to face the Midianites. But God felt like that would be too easy.

At least too easy for the Israelites to take all the credit for a victory.

God wanted them to give Him the glory. So He put Gideon through two tests of his faith – which ultimately left only 300 men to fight Midian’s 135 thousand warriors! That’s 450 Midian guys for every one Israelite. What?

And in what is known as one of the most unbelievable battle strategies in history, the 300 Israelites marched out with trumpets, torches, and jars to meet the marauding Midianites.

What happened then? God sent confusion into the ranks of the Midianites and they started turning on each other! When it was all said and done, 120 thousand Midianites had killed one another and the other 15 thousand ran away.

 

God had answered Israel’s prayers, using a regular, every day guy like Gideon.

As it says in Luke 18:27 What is impossible with men is possible with God.

When you feel God is calling you to do something that might seem too big – or even impossible – think of mild-mannered Gideon who grew to fully trust God and changed the course of history.

 

What is God calling you to do?  What steps of trust can you take?

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