I’m not sure if I’ve ever said this before, but my favorite Old Testament figure is Gideon. Boy, do I relate to him! After all, I’m the girl who lived a life marked by fear from June 1992 until November 2001, when God performed a miracle I’m still trying to find the words to describe. So, yeah. I get Gideon and that need for confirmation, over and over again. (And isn’t it awesome that, the last time, Gideon didn’t ask? God just said, “Hey, if you’re still afraid, go down to the camp and see what you hear. God rocks. He knows us.) Gideon… the dude who was hiding in a winepress, probably shaking in his sandals at every sound. Then there’s Gideon’s protest, “Uhm, God? My tribe is the smallest. My family is the smallest and, well, I’m the smallest of all.” From 32,000 to 300. From an Army to a handful of guys carrying clay pots, trumpets, and torches. Ever felt ill-equipped for your calling? Just take a look at Gideon.
So yep, me and Gideon? We’d totally be buds.
As I was reading the other day, I came across something that I’d never really thought about before, in Judges 7:15 (NAS).
“Arise, for the Lord has given the camp of Midian into your hands.”
Hm. Midian was already defeated. From the moment God called Gideon, Midian was already defeated. When God whittled the men from 32,000 to 300… Well, Midian was already defeated. To be honest, God didn’t really need Gideon and his scrawny little bunch, did He? After all, He’d already won. In fact, if you read further, you see in Chapter 8 that Israel didn’t even go in with swords. God flooded the Midianite camp with confusion and chaos until those Midianites turned the swords on themselves.
Here’s the thing. Midian was already defeated. But Gideon still had to obey and show up.
God doesn’t need us. He wants us. He could have wiped Midian right off the earth, but He gave Gideon the chance to get involved, to go from shivering winepress thresher to strong and mighty warrior. In delivering Israel from mighty Midian, He gave Gideon and his 300 the chance to be mighty.
Yes, God is God. He can do anything. It’s tempting sometimes to sit back and whine or to settle in with our popcorn and wait for Him to kick some enemy rear end. But He asks for our obedience. For us to show up. For us to fight the battle He sets in front of us. Why? Well, for each of us, the reason is different. But it’s always for a purpose. He’s always growing us. And for us, like Gideon, it can sometimes be dark and scary and completely lacking common sense. God’s like that. He does the unbelievable with the strangest instruments. I mean, come on, go up against an Army of 145,000 trained fighters with torches and clay pots? Ludicrous. But He’s God. He did the work with those crazy, weak, easily breakable things. Sounds kind of like us, doesn’t it? Don’t you think He can do the work through our weak selves too.
Because maybe, just maybe, God’s giving us the chance to be mighty.