“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie ten Boom
It’s so easy to get caught up in building my tribe, or expanding my personal network in order to accomplish my vision. I tend to focus most of my efforts in getting my message to the masses. My focus begins to shift laterally toward the people who can move my vision forward instead of how I can serve God’s vision for my life.
I can be a unintentional glory stealer.
As I was studying the life of Gideon, the Lord began to re-shape my perspective. He showed me how I needed to make my vertical relationship more of a priority in my ministry/work life. The example of Gideon really taught me a valuable lesson.
During the time of Gideon, the Israelites were once again being pressed on all sides. They were stuck in a seemingly endless pattern. They would “do evil in the sight of the Lord” and God would send His judgment upon them, usually in the form of a military takeover. After a period of time, the Israelites would begin to cry out to the Lord to save them, so He would send a deliverer. Time would pass and again the Israelites would “do evil in the sight of the Lord”. Judgment. Deliverance. Evil. This was the pattern.
He was threshing wheat in a winepress. That just means he was hiding. The enemies of Israel chased them into the caves of Ophrah. Every time the Israelites would attempt to grow crops, the Midianites (and other enemies) would come up and plunder everything. This is why Gideon was quietly working to provide food in such an obscure place.
But at least he was doing something.
It was in this place of obscurity that an Angel of the Lord showed up.
The angel’s words are powerful. He speaks to Gideon and says, “the Lord is with you, mighty warrior“. Mighty warrior? He’s hiding in a winepress! Nevertheless, you would expect Gideon to bow down in this moment and say something like, “I humbly receive your command and will go forth in doing your will oh greatest One”……BUT, Gideon responds much the way we respond when trials intersect our daily lives.
He says, “Pardon me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt? But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian. The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’” “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.”(Judges 6:13-15)
Don’t we respond the same way? We cast blame towards God for not showing up when we need Him. We offer excuses for why we will not be able to accomplish a task.
Gideon goes on to ask for a sign. He gets several confirmations that he is moving in the right direction.
So he takes the next step and starts to build his army. He begins with over 30,000 men. Fearing that Israel would take credit for the upcoming victory, the Lord conveniently tells Gideon that the army is too large. After all, isn’t it pretty obvious that 30,000 men could easily defeat the estimated 135,000 Midianites (and their friends)? Let’s balance this out a little in order to make it a more lopsided battle. What?! Gideon had to wonder how they were going to beat those odds.
So, in response to the Lord’s request, Gideon tells everyone who doesn’t have the stomach for the fight to go ahead and go home. Twenty two thousand men go home.
And Gideon takes a very deep breath.
Then the Lord conveniently tells Gideon that the 10,000 remaining men are still too numerous for the battle. So they go down to the brook for the drinking challenge. You guessed it. 9,700 failed and Gideon was left with 300 men.
In my imagination, I see Gideon secretly praying that only one guy would fail this test. At the end of that test, I’m sure Gideon’s confidence took a big hit. I’m guessing he probably needed a moment to himself. It turned out to be quite the scaling down. Now, only God could deliver a victory.
And that He does.
God proves to Gideon that He has gone before him by allowing him to listen in on a dream from the enemy’s camp. It was now obvious to Gideon that the Lord was with him.
So he moved forward with confidence.
Gideon had become what the Angel of the Lord said about him in their first meeting. He was now a “mighty man of valor“. Sure, he had to have his hand held throughout the whole ordeal, but God made sure to take him step by step through this growing process. God’s promises were unfolding in His life.
God doesn’t need 30,000 to accomplish His vision. If he wants us to reach every vulnerable child with three hundred, or for that matter, twelve, He can certainly do it.
The good news is that He always goes before us.
The better news is that, like Gideon, the Lord sees us for who we are in Him, not for how we see ourselves. We tend to see ourselves much like Gideon saw himself. Does this conversation ever play out in your mind?
Why would God use me? I have so many weak areas in my own life. I can’t pull off what you are asking me to pull off. I only have 400 Twitter followers and no one will “like” my Facebook posts. I’m here in this place of obscurity. Who even knows I exist? Please use someone else. This is very inconvenient and I am really scared of what you are asking of me.
God doesn’t need us to accomplish His work. But He chooses to use us. We don’t need the latest, greatest resources to accomplish the task He gives to us. We simply have to trust in Him and move forward.
What’s the greatest part of the story of Gideon in my eyes?
There are no accounts of Gideon’s army bringing any weapons to the fight. They brought trumpets, empty jars and torches. They made a lot of noise and won a great victory.
It’s time we make some noise in our communities.
You don’t need to bring any weapons. Just bring all of your questions and fears to Jesus. Watch how the Lord raises the flag of victory in your community as you respond to Him by faith.
We need more Gideons in our communities. You don’t have to know how to play a trumpet. Just follow His voice and then watch how He uses you for His glory. He will hold your hand and walk you step by step down the road to fulfilling His promise in your life.
For the Kingdom,
Founder | Exec. Director