As a teenager, the first time my family played Scrabble with my girlfriend - later to be my wife - Lori opened the game spelling “Utopia.” I knew immediately, we were toast… we didn’t even know what that word meant! It is a “fantasy paradise”, she told us. That was the moment I knew I had to marry that gal because not only was she beautiful, but she was brilliant too; at least in my clan. She wiped the Scrabble board with all of us that rainy day at the beach.
The truth is that this life is no “utopia”; we all face our share of foes that can overwhelm and crush us. You may be facing a serious battle or two in your life right now… loss, pain, disappointment, illness, loneliness, stress… the list goes on and on. What can you do? You need courage! Courage to trust God!
There was a time when God’s people, the Israelites, found themselves overwhelmed by an invading enemy who had taken over the land God had given them. The Midianites had moved in like “locusts”, ravaging their crops and livestock. They were left to seek shelter in caves. What could they do? 6 Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help. Judges 6:6. They needed help and knew their God was the only one to help them! God called Gideon to help “save Israel.” But Gideon was a reluctant leader, telling God his clan was the weakest in his nation and he was the least in his clan! (Judges 6:15). The great news is that God can use anyone to accomplish His plan, even the “weak”! Gideon was the man for this job; but he had serious concerns. (Judges 6-7)
Gideon asked for a sign from God to prove God really wanted him to lead His people to victory. Even after a spectacular sign from God, Gideon needed two more signs and threw out a fleece to give God a chance to prove Gideon was indeed His man. Does that mean you and I need to throw out fleece’s and pray for “signs” like Gideon? Actually, we don’t need to do that because we have two advantages Gideon lacked:
We have the complete Word of God. (1 Timothy 3:16-17). We are fully equipped for every good work! All the answers we seek are in His Word.
We have the Holy Spirit. (John 14:26). If you are a Jesus Follower, you have the Holy Spirit to guide, teach and encourage you! Before Pentecost, in Gideon’s time, God guided His people by HIs hand externally. Now we have His Spirit at work in us as Believers.
If you need help, seek His Word and expect His Holy Spirit to provide the guidance and encouragement you seek. But you must trust Him! Will you have the courage to trust?
Gideon would need courage to trust God to help the Israelites defeat this enemy. With God’s direction, Gideon went into battle, not with the 22,000 soldiers he had gathered, but with only 300 God told him to take. Initially Gideon had doubts he could win this battle, who wouldn’t? But God would give him courage to trust when it didn’t make sense, when it seemed impossible. And amazingly, God delivered! Gideon and his 300 soldiers won this battle and took back their land - not by their might, but by God’s!
We can learn a lot from Gideon. One of my favorite truths is that like Gideon, we are all weak… but God is strong! Will you look to His Word for answer and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you? Will you allow Him to help you battle the foes you are facing? Will you have courage to trust? For much more, listen to Courage Part 4 - Gideon: Courage to Trust.