Good morning my friends,
We start on the tale of Gideon today. It is not a very long tale so we will complete it tomorrow. Many of us already know a great deal about Gideon; that he was afraid like everyone else, that God called him a mighty warrior when he did not act like it, that he was put in a place where he had to decide if he trusted God. This morning however I would like us to consider what all of this tells us about God and us.
In Judges 6 we read when the angel first addressed Gideon. Gideon's reaction appeared to be a thing that arrived from bitterness. "We know what God did for our forefathers but what has he done for us lately?" He seems to long for a demonstration of God's power, "Where are the signs and wonders from long ago?" And then the heart of it, "Has God abandoned us?"
It is the angel's reaction to this that is the the foundation of the lesson this morning. In the face of this bitterness, in the face of this doubt the angel responds: "Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian's hand. Am I not sending you?" Sounds close to what God said to Joshua at the beginning. The problem is that Gideon did not have the same relationship with God that Joshua had. In fact, Israel was in the position it was because they did not have this same relationship.
The thing is that God's command to possess the land still stood. His strength was still available. Success was a guarantee, it only required the faithful obedience of Israel. However the people had abandoned the relationship, perhaps because they were expecting God to rescue them as he did in Egypt, with signs and wonders. Instead, God tells Gideon to use the strength he had to go a defeat the enemy. Gideon did not understand the blessings of the Lord. He did not understand the blessings that come with faithful obedience. He did not understand the miracles God performs every day for his faithful children. Tomorrow we will look at some of these miracles that most people pass over without understanding.
The lesson I want you to understand is the lesson Gideon was going to have to learn. Miracles or no miracles God expects his people to move forward in obedience. He expects us to live our lives to the fullest in obedience to him. He expects us to go in the strength we have whether we are weak or strong. Jesus told us it is not about the size of our faith, it is whether we have any faith at all. Even the smallest amount allows God to do his work. He will not abandon his people even if they abandon him; it will only look as if he is gone because we lack the spiritual eyes to see. Even then, if we go in the strength we have we will begin to see his hand at work. He works through us as we move and live. He will not work through us if we simply sit and wait to see his hand. His hand is seen on the journey, not before.
This is a difficult spiritual principle. It means that we must move out into the unknown before we have any guarantees. It means that every work of the Lord is based on faith and trust. That is why God enjoys using the weakest vessels, because then people know for sure it is God who is doing the real work. Take this to heart, and go in the strength that you have.