I have come to the conclusion that we are a lot like the Israelites. When things are going good, we have a tendency to rely on ourselves and give ourselves the glory. Often it isnt until we are in our lowest moments, that we turn to God.
Today, I found myself writing and reflecting on a few lessons I have learned from Gideon..This writing will be based on Judges 6-8 =)
To catch you up to the context of where I am, the people of Israel did again what was evil in the sight of the Lord (Big Surprise, not). So the Lord gave them into the hand of Midian. The Midianites were so overpowering to the people of Israel, they made themselves dens and cavs in the mountains. In this text, the Midianites are devouring the food of the land and leaving nothing in Israel..Could you imagine?
Scripture says, Israel was brought very low because of this (vs 6). So like many of us in our lowest times, they cried to the Lord. And the Lord (as always) provides. He sends them a prophet.
In chapter 6 of Judges we meet Gideon.
The angel of the Lord appears to him and says, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
Gideon’s response: “please sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsake us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
Have you ever felt like a modern day Gideon?
Wondering… “If the Lord is with me, why has this happened to me?”
I have.. and here are here are 4 lessons I have learned from Gideon:
- We often blame our suffering on God.
Gideon says to the angel of the Lord, “if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?”
What Gideon failed to realize in this moment, is that the Lord had been there from the beginning. He and the Israelites were in this situation because they once again turned away from the Lord. Remember prior, the people of Israel had rest for forty years because the Lord saved them again when they turned away from him.. But yet again, they turned away from Him, and this is why Gideon is in the situation he is in. Because of free will.. Not because of God.
Have you ever asked, if God is such an amazing God, why do I go through so many hurtful situations?
“Why did I get cheated on in my last relationship?”
“Why did I lose my loved one?”
“Why do I have this illness?”
“Why did that person get killed in an accident?”
So often, we put the blame on God.. But when we put things in perspective, we realize that we are in this situation because we live in a broken world filled with people with free will. Sin was brought into the world because God gave us free will, and through disobedience, death was death upon us all. But our loving, gracious Father, has given us another chance to be redeemed, this time through His son.
Like Gideon, it is easy to forget where we started. It is easy to blame God, with failing to remember how we got in this situation in the first place. But we must remember what He has done for us. Despite failing Him, He has given us, yet another opportunity to be saved by Him.
- We often fail to realize our God given potential because we feel inadequate
When the Lord tells him to go save Israel, Gideon replies “Please Lord, How can I save Israel, behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my fathers house.”
Gideon says, look Lord.. “Im the weakest in my family, I cant do this..” Im reminded of Moses, when he says, no Lord, I cant go save your people, “ I am slow of speech and tongue.”
But it didn’t matter that Gideon was apart of the weakest clan in Manasseh and least of His Fathers household. Nor did it matter that Moses was slow of speech and tongue. God was on with them.
Have you ever felt inadequate like Gideon? Not in the sense where you have been delivered into the hands of the Midianites and you’re being forced to go fight for Israel haha, but in the sense where you doubt God, and feel inadequate to do as He has called?
Modern day examples: Scripture tells us to “Go out into all the world and preach the gospel.” We respond:
“I cant go talk to that person about Jesus, ill lose my job.”
“I cant correct that person, they will get offended.”
“I cant teach a bible class, I am afraid of public speaking.”
“I cant go to another country, ill get killed.”
I have to wonder if these feeling of inadequacies are a result of poor faith.
I am totally guilty of being like Gideon.
But you know what? Recently I have realized that Gideon’s story is a lot like ours
The Lord was with Gideon, and he is with us today.
“What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”
Sometimes we have to choose faith over fear.
- We often need less resources than we realize
The Lord caused Gideon to win a battle with 300 men.. Gideon started off with thousands. But the Lord said “The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianities into their hand, lest Israel boast over me saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’”
The Lord wanted to make it clear that they won because of Him. Not because of their own resources.
If you are anything like me, it is easy to fall into this idea of thinking that you have to be some great person to do the Lords work.. But I have found that idea is not biblical.. In fact.. its quite opposite. Scripture tells us,
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wide; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong,” 1 Corinthians 1:28
the reason he does this? Well Paul tells us in vs 29
“so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”
You do not have to be some great successful person with millions of followers. All you need is a scripture filled mind, and a willing and humble heart.
- Even as a God-fearing servant, chances are we will mess up.
Gideon, was a mighty man of valor. He obeyed the Lord and won the battle, and because of his willingness to let the Lord work through Him, Israel received rest for 40 years. He even refused to rule over the people, responding to their request “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you, the Lord will rule over you.” (Judges 8:23). But he still messed up.
In chapter 8 of Judges, we are told that although Gideon refuses to rule over the people, he does request something from them. He requests their golden earrings, 1700 shekels of gold and we are told in vs 27 “Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city in Ophrah. And all of Israel whored after it there and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.”
Gideon was a successful, God fearing man, but he still messed up. I am glad that God added this part here, because it gives me hope.
As Christians today, we mess up. In fact, I constantly mess up. Sin is a hard battle, this Christian walk is extremely hard. But God has given us the remedy for our failures. The blood of Jesus.
Once we are baptized into Christ, and come up after being fully immersed in that watery grave of baptism, and begin our Christian walks, that’s just the beginning. And it is a LONG beginning… Chances are we are going to mess up.. But what makes us different is that we have the confidence that we are able to repent. We are protected by His blood. We are told this in
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
I hope this long, hearty post helped someone out there. If you are going through a tough time, I hope you remember:
Our God is always with us. When we are suffering, we are told “He is near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18..
When we are feeling inadequate, remember our adequacy is able to come from God
“Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” 2 Corinthians 3:5
We do not need as many resources as we think we do.
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5
Chances are, you will mess up.. But don’t get discouraged and don’t stay down.. We must be aware of Satans devices, and I am convinced that discouragement is one of them..
As long as we are trying, He is with us. Let Jesus clean up your mess up.
Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (ESV)
Please feel free to comment or message me and let me know what lessons you have learned from Gideon! ❤