How God Sees You
This week, lots of folks are enjoying summer vacation for the week of the 4th. Hopefully you enjoyed some fun, food and spectacular fireworks to celebrate our nation’s independence!
Before we could celebrate our independence as a nation, we had to rid our country of the oppressive forces of the British Empire. There was a time hundreds of years ago, when God’s people, the Israelites, found themselves under the thumb of an oppressive people, the Midianites and Amalekites. For seven years, the Israelite’s livestock and crops were being ravaged by these people. They found were desperate and in need of a hero to lead them. God heard their cries and sent a reluctant leader, Gideon, who would lead their offensive. (Judges 6-7)
There was a reason God had allowed the Israelites to be invaded; they had turned their attention from Him to other gods. Now they were suffering the consequences of their poor, dishonorable choice. But after seven years, God answered their desperate cries for help by calling a simple, ordinary man to lead them.
Gideon didn’t come from a great pedigree. He wasn't an intellectual giant or a great theologian. He wasn't an accomplished general or a powerful politician. He was a simple Hebrew man doing the best he could to take care of his family… in a lot of ways, he was just like you and me. Yet, God is about to use him in an extraordinary way! God loves to use unlikely, ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary feats.
There are lots of life lessons in Gideon’s story… Let’s look at four.
Lesson #1 - God sees you not just for who you are, but who you will be, with His help. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12. Gideon is far from a mighty warrior; he is a simple man just trying to feed his family and keep them safe when God reaches out to him. I seriously doubt Gideon saw himself as a mighty warrior.
Maybe you don’t consider yourself a great dad or mom, but God wants to make you just that. Maybe you don’t see yourself as a great teacher, or leader, or influencer for Christ’s sake, but God is in the transformation business! He is at work making you, molding you and shaping you into the person you will be.
Lesson #2 - God does not expect you to go it alone in life; He goes with you! 2 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12. I love that about our God! The times that I have felt most overwhelmed, overmatched, and under-prepared is when God did His greatest work in and through me. To be clear, that doesn’t mean I can be irresponsible as a dad or a husband or a pastor or a son or a leader; but as a Christ-follower, I am never on my own. He is with me. He is at work in me. And if you are a Believer, God is with you; He is at work in you!
God was at work in Gideon too; he just didn't realize it yet. Gideon is still not convinced he is the right guy for the job… I wonder if you have ever been there? Gideon tells God why he can’t possibly be the guy for this job. 15 “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.” Judges 6:15
Have you ever felt like that? So ill-equipped, so under-qualified, so overmatched? There are plenty of seasons like that in life. Maybe you are in one right now. Take courage, you are not in this alone. God is with you!
Lesson # 3 - God wants you to faithfully believe, with His help, you can accomplish whatever He has called us to. The truth is that Gideon was struggling to believe that God was really calling him to lead. He wanted to be sure he was hearing God clearly. So he asked God for a some signs. He “threw out a fleece.” (Judges 6:36-40)
Gideon must have known he was pushing it with God, at least a little or he wouldn’t have said, “Don’t be angry with me God, but…”. Have you ever felt like you were pushing it with God just a little; maybe showing a lack of faith by questioning God over and over? Asking: “Are you sure I can do this God? Am I really up to this challenge? Can I handle this?”
Asking God for clarification is not a bad thing; but there is a fine line between asking for a sign from God and testing God, which is prohibited in scripture. (Dt.6:16; Matt.4:7) So how can we seek clarification on where God may be leading us?
Pray continually… if you want to hear from God, you better be talking to Him.
Take notice of your circumstances… how is God at work around you? As author Henry Blackaby says, “Be prepared to join Him there!”
Seek advice from wise, Godly people… God can speak through other people.
Measure what you are sensing and hearing with what God’s Word teaches… God will never contradict Himself; so if you are sensing or hearing something that is contrary to what God’s Word teaches, it is not from God.
God answered Gideon’s request for a sign. He may or may not do that for you; but you can certainly ask and sometimes be aware that He answers with silence. What happens next is remarkable… Gideon’s army is outnumbered 4 to 1; but God asks him to reduce that number again and again until he has just 300 men. Now the Israelites will be outnumbered 450-1!
Lesson #4 - God always has a plan to help you win your battles that credits Him for the victory! God gave Gideon a remarkable battle plan. (Judges 7:17-22). Gideon and his men follow the plan God gave them and, with God’s help, the Israelites defeat their enemies and rid their land of their invaders. The Israelites would live in peace for the next 40 years.
Why would God include this inspiring account of Gideon’s leadership and this great victory? Maybe to help us see that our weakness is the perfect place to prove God’s presence and power. God is not limited by your weaknesses. In fact, when you are weak, He shows up in a big way! He often crafts ministry opportunities for you from your weaknesses, not your strengths.
Maybe you are like Gideon and you think, “I’m not the person for this God… I’m the least in the weakest clan… I don’t come from much and I don’t know if I have what it takes.” If that is you, then you are in a perfect place to experience God’s power and strength! As Jesus said to the Apostle Paul, 9 … “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9a
For much more, click here to listen to:Heroes: Part 5 - Gideon.