The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.”
When I was growing up our family was very poor. I had no shoes to wear during my elementary school years, no trousers, and many other things we consider basic nowadays. My mother could not easily afford the tuition for me. Many times she had to borrow money from our neighbors and friends in order to send me to school. I thought I would live in my small village and die there. I never knew that at one time I would be in ministry impacting lives for God and sharing the message of hope to great people like you.. But God had different plans for me.
The circumstances and situations we encounter in life can influence the way we look at ourselves. We have a tendency to evaluate ourselves by the standards set by our peers and critics. In the story we read above, Gideon and all the people of Israel were living under great fear because of their enemies. Gideon too thought that he could not do anything for his country. He thought that he was the least in their family and their clan was the least in their tribe. Talk of inferiority complex!
Although Gideon thought that he was the least of the least, God had a different plan for him. Whereas Gideon thought of himself as a failure, God saw him as a warrior – and a mighty one at that (verse 12)! We sometimes feel like Gideon. Maybe we feel we don’t have opportunities that other people have. We feel that if we had more money, went to better schools, were in a bigger church, were born in a better family…then we would make a great difference. In other words, we think we are the wrong people to do the task ahead of us.
Yet God looks at us differently. He uses us in our weaknesses to do great works in His kingdom so that He alone will receive the glory. God wants to use you. You only need to do one thing: To give yourself to him. He wants to use you in your limitations. You have possibly heard it said that “God doesn’t call the qualified; he qualifies those he calls.” This is so true, and you are also included.
There are two things we can learn in today’s passage:
- Do not think of what you do not have but think about what you have – that little strength (verse 14). What could that “little strength be?” It could be you gifts, your relationships, your experiences (especially the hurts and past failures), etc.
When we envy those whom we think are better than us, we fail to see how much God has blessed us.
- God is with you (verse 16). God will never send you anywhere he is not willing to go with you. God is with you. And that makes a whole lot of difference. He will do what you can’t do.
Maybe you are the hero you’ve been looking for. God is waiting for you to take the first step of faith. Will you?