“Once again the people of Israel sinned against the Lord, so he let the people of Midian rule them for seven years. The Midianites were stronger than Israel, and the people of Israel hid from them in caves and other safe places in the hills” (Judges 6:1-2).
The people of Israel had sinned against the Lord. As a consequence for their sin, God allowed someone to rule over them, and when they became fed up with their rulers, the Israelites cried out to God to rescue them.
Wait a minute! I’ve seen this one before. Isn’t that what happened back in Egypt?
And again, God picked an unlikely character to rescue Israel. The first time, it was Moses, a slow-of-speech murderer. This time it was Gideon.
An angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, who was threshing some wheat secretly in a wine press so that Midianites would not see him. The angel said, “The Lord is with you, brave and mighty man!”
To which, Gideon replied, “If I may ask, sir, why has all this happened to us if the Lord is with us? What happened to all the wonderful things that our fathers told us the Lord used to do–how he brought them out of Egypt? The Lord has abandoned us and left us to the mercy of the Midianites” (Judges 6:13).
Let’s be honest now. How many of us have asked that same question, “If God is really with me, why am I in the middle of this mess?” Probably most of us, at one time or another.
It never occurred to Gideon, as it has never occurred to most of us, that maybe, just maybe, God isn’t the problem. And if there is only God and us, and God isn’t the problem, then the problem must lie with us.
Without an explanation, or an answer, the Lord commanded Gideon: “Go with all your great strength and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I myself am sending you” (Judges 6:14).
“But Lord, how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least important member of my family,” protested Gideon (Judges 6:15).
Gideon didn’t see himself as a brave and mighty man. He saw himself as the weakest of the weak. And he was sure that God couldn’t see him as anything but weak too.
But God doesn’t look at who we are now with our messed-up marriage, our addictions, our financial difficulties. He sees the big picture. He sees who we will become, if we give Him half a chance.
Joyce Meyer has this great definition of grace. Grace is God doing through us what we cannot do on our own.
That’s what Gideon had to do to rescue Israel. He had to allow God to do through him what he could not do on his own. In his own strength, he couldn’t rescue Israel, no. When he surrendered to God, though, the Lord did it through him.
We cannot do what God wants us to do on our own either, but when we allow God to do it, we will accomplish so much more.
Remember that “God purposely chose what the world considers weak in order to shame the powerful” I Corinthians 1:27.