Questions: Ever doubted that the Lord was with you? Ever felt like you were insufficient for a task to which God has called you? Ever thought the circumstances you were in were so messed up they were beyond redemption? Well, you are not alone. The Bible, because it is true, describes people the way we really are. It does not airbrush us to make us prettier than we are. Consider the case of Gideon.
Historical context: 1200s B.C. The time of the judges. The Jews had been promised by God a land. But they often had weak faith. They failed to trust the Lord fully. And so they failed to live according to God’s Word to them. They were oppressed by various enemies: the Mesopotamians, the Moabites, the Philistines, and in Gideon’s time, the Midianites. The Midianites were oppressing Israel when God called him to fight in the Lord’s army, to be a warrior for the Lord. And Gideon’s response?
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).
Even been there? Ever felt like, “Lord, I trust you, but I’m not up to this task”? God reminded Gideon, however, who is sovereign in warfare.
And the LORD said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man” (Judges 6:16).
God teaches Gideon what he teaches believers throughout church history: it’s not man’s might that saves. It’s not chariots and horses that save. It’s not human machinations and human cleverness that save. It’s the Lord who saves.
Encouragement: If you’re a believer, and you find yourself putting out the fleece like Gideon did, and you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by circumstances, by oppressors (political, spiritual, personal, etc.) read Gideon’s story again. The Lord reminded Gideon—not just once, twice, or even three times, but repeatedly: “But I will be with you” (6:16) and “Do not fear; you shall not die” (6:23).
Takeaway: In the NT, Paul reminds us of what he learned, what Gideon learned, and what all Christians are to learn: “For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:25). Believers are warriors, make no doubt about it, and the battles are ultimately spiritual:
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).
We can find solace in the fact that Scripture shares with us how our predecessors likewise had weak faith at times. But we ought to see the great truth that it is not the strength of our faith that saves but the One—the Lord Jesus, King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16)—in whom our faith abides.