Strength to Obey

Have you ever felt like you were not equipped to do what you knew you needed to do? I have. And we are not the first to feel this inadequacy in the face of God-given assignments. In Judges 6 we find Gideon. Gideon was an Israelite living under the discipline of God with all of God’s people. Verse 1 tells us that they were being ruled by the Midianites because of their sin. Verse 6 says, “And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD.” So God sends an unnamed prophet to remind them, in vs 7-10 that He had acted on their behalf to set them free and fight for them in the past and to remind them of their need of repentance.

It is after this reminder from the LORD that we get a glimpse of Gideon. He is “beating out wheat in a winepress to hide it from the Midianites.” (vs 11) If we were making our assessment, we would not consider Gideon to be a person who could lead people against their enemies. But this simply proves what another prophet once heard God say, “man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) God does not choose leaders based on what they bring to the table, but based on what He is going to give them the ability to accomplish. As the old saying goes, “He doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.” Another way I have heard this expressed is “What God requires, He provides.” This is what He is up to here with Gideon. He is about to equip Gideon. And He equips us in the same way.

“And the angel of the LORD appeared to him and said to him, ’The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor.’” (vs 12)

I can only imagine how Gideon was shocked by this declaration. For one thing, an angel is calling him out by name!! But after recovering from the shock of that, he was a little more than skeptical about the “mighty man of valor” part, as well. But this is how God works…then and now. He comes to us in our weakness and reminds us of our true identity. “…we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37b) A few verses Gideon is reminded of this truth. “And the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” God is reminding Gideon that his strength to obey is not from himself, but from God. Our strength, too, comes from what God says about us. This is His overabundant grace that flows into our lives through His Word. Gideon went on to accomplish all that God had intended and we can, too.

“He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)