In case you haven’t noticed, in the back section of The Story there are some questions to think about for each chapter. In staff meeting on Tuesday, Pastor Sean chose this one: “Why does God often use weak and uncertain people like Gideon to do his work?” Among other answers, someone gave this one, “In our weakness, God shows His strength.” This keeps us from getting confused about who should get the credit (and glory), doesn’t it? But I’m remembering something else about the Gideon story. I’m remembering that the angel of the Lord greeted Gideon with, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
It seems to me that with those two words (mighty warrior) the angel strikes at the heart of Gideon’s identity – or should I say lack thereof. Gideon’s every move, from being hidden in a wine press to asking for two different outcomes with the fleeces, reveals that he’s anything but what we would call a mighty warrior. But God doesn’t have those kinds of thoughts about the guy, does he? He sees someone he can use. He sees potential. God sees potential in you, too. You know that, don’t you?
A couple of other phrases leap out at me from Gideon’s story. One is when the Lord tells Gideon to “Go in the strength you have…Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14) There’s something that happens in the Spirit-realm when whatever strength or willingness we have is empowered by God’s commission to ‘Go’. We become conduits of blessing for the Kingdom, you know?
And then I am just so touched by the Lord waking Gideon “during the night” to seal the deal on the mission. “If you are afraid to attack…” Who wouldn’t be afraid? I have to ask. But the man who God sees as a mighty warrior rises up to walk in his new identity, sneaks into enemy territory, and returns to lead his team to victory. “Thus Midian was subdued before the Israelites and did not raise its head again. During Gideon’s lifetime, the land enjoyed peace forty years.” (Judges 8:28)
Remember the altar Gideon built to the Lord before any fighting had ever begun? The “least in his family” from “the weakest clan in Manasseh” called it “The Lord is Peace.” And so He was, and is, and ever will be!