Dianne Barker here…thinking about my biblical friend Gideon. Have you noticed this? The angel of the Lord called Gideon a mighty warrior…while he was doubtful and afraid.
Let’s review his story in Judges 6-8. Because the nation Israel did evil, for seven years the Lord handed them over to the Midianites. Their situation became so oppressive that they made shelters for themselves in mountains, caves, and strongholds. When they planted crops, their enemies invaded the country, destroying the crops and leaving the Israelites impoverished. Finally they cried to the Lord for help.
One day Gideon was minding my own business, threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. The angel of the Lord appeared, sat under an oak, and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12 NIV).
At the moment, Gideon seemed unconcerned about who started this conversation. He said, “If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.”
The Lord said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Gideon’s response: Who, me?
Those weren’t his exact words, but he gave logical reasons why he couldn’t do it: “my clan is the weakest…I am the least in my family.”
“The Lord answered, ‘I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.’”
Gideon wanted confirmation that this was the Lord. Even after he was certain he’d encountered the Sovereign Lord, he was still a reluctant leader. The Lord told him to tear down his father’s altar to Baal, cut down the Asherah pole beside it, build a proper altar to the Lord, and offer a burnt offering.
Gideon “did as the Lord told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime.”
He wasn’t a coward. He considered the possibilities and made a practical decision. His fear was legitimate. When the men of the town found out what he’d done, they wanted to kill him.
Before embarking on the mission to save Israel, Gideon needed proof the assignment came from the Lord. Remember the fleece.
There’s more to the story, and we’ll consider that another time. Today our focus is the mighty warrior who was doubtful and afraid. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he did indeed become that mighty warrior.
God knew the potential before he chose Gideon. He told him where to go, what to say, and what to do. From the beginning he promised, “I will be with you.”
Why are you down-hearted? Let me guess. Life hasn’t gone the way you expected. You started out with your picnic basket but a hurricane swallowed sunny skies.
This career that once seemed so promising has delivered only delay, defeat, and discouragement. You’re tired of disappointment. Tired of feeling like a huge disappointment. Tired of being beaten down and picking yourself up again. Just plain tired of hard.
It doesn’t matter how your life began or where it has carried you. What matters is what you decide to do with today.
You’re here…in these circumstances…on this planet…on purpose. The Lord chose you for a mission. Yes, you! He knew your potential…the person you would become in his power.
Feeling doubtful and afraid? The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. Go in the strength you have. And rest assured he will provide everything you need—because he sent you.
Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media. Visit www.diannebarker.com.