In Judges chapter 6, we learn that the Israelites had been oppressed under the hands of the Midianites for seven years. Over the years, it wasn’t just the Midianites that took advantage of the Israelites. The Amalekites and other eastern people also invaded Israelite territory. The Israelites felt powerless. Then the Lord spoke.
I’m going to start reading at verse 12 and go through verse 15. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? He went on to say. But now the Lord has abandoned us and put 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?” “But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
Let’s look at these few verses in reverse order. You see in verse 15 that Gideon is having a talk with the Lord. Gideon offers a reply to the Lord which immediately begins with the word “BUT.” “BUT” is a word that grammatically can be used in multiple ways. It can be a conjunction, a noun, an adverb or a preposition. Used differently, can create different meaning. In this passage of scripture, “BUT” is used as a noun, which denotes an argument against something or an objection. Gideon heard from the Lord, but was ready to argue against what the Lord had just spoken to him. When do you find yourself using the nasty “BUT” word in this same way? In Gideon’s case, he wanted the Lord to know what he saw as his reality. He doubted himself. He felt weak and felt like he lacked credibility. He also considered his position within his family and recognized that his placement status was lower than all others. What I want to remind you today is that your current position doesn’t determine your potential, your purpose, your power, or your ability to produce. God makes all of those determinations.
No matter what the situation looks like, God has total control. In the prior two verses, Gideon was open and honest about his feelings. He was unrestrained in his conversations with God. He questioned God for the position that he and the other Israelites were in. Gideon even entertained a moment of vulnerability when he told God that he felt abandoned by Him. Being gentle with His words, God told Gideon to go in the strength he had and save his people. This was no small feat. God doesn’t think small. In spite of all that Gideon and his people had experienced over the years, God knew that Gideon had the strength to succeed against the Midianites. God just wanted Gideon to trust Him. When God asked “Am I not sending you?”, that was His way of saying I am sending you into battle because I know you can handle it. Just a few weeks ago I asked my youngest daughter whether she wanted to condition in the Fall with gymnastics or synchronized swimming. She knew that swimming would be more expensive and she said “well, I don’t want you to have to spend more money, so…” I turned to her and said “I didn’t ask you about the money, I asked you your preference.” In the same way God answered Gideon, I thought to myself “If the resources weren’t available, the offer would not have been put on the table.” Likewise, God sent Gideon because God knew what Gideon didn’t know for himself. God also knows what’s inside of you and He wants to bring it out. Gideon’s revelation came in his conversation.
When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” This is how the conversation began. Gideon was approached and immediately alerted that the Lord was with him. Even better than that, Gideon was approached with a specific reference. He was called ‘mighty warrior.’ God knew from the beginning the power that Gideon possessed. At immediate contact the Lord spoke life into Gideon. This is a reminder that no matter how down, battered, bruised and broken we ourselves, God sees us as so much more. We are powerful, we are fighters, we are winners.
Once Gideon figured out who he was in the Lord and increased his confidence in himself and his faith in God, Gideon sifted the Israelites and weeded out those who were afraid and others who were not fit for battle at the time. He fought and defeated the Midianites with just 300 men. You see, it’s not about what you can and what you think you need to win. It’s about what God sees and knows to be true. Bigger is not always better. In spite of his self-doubts and insecurities, Gideon had what it took!Stop letting the enemy feed lies into your spirit. Trust in God, knowing that He is with you and has called you here by name. You, too, have what it takes!