And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Hebrews 11:32-34 NIV
Have you ever gone through a time in your life when everything seemed to be going wrong? Maybe you feel now like the world is against you and you are fighting but getting nowhere. Maybe you have felt scared, weak, and helpless. Maybe when you open your Bible, you wish you had the courage that Paul, Moses, David, and the rest seemed to have. If any of this sounds familiar, meet your new hero, Gideon.
I know; you know the story. The small kid on the block, takes just three hundred, surrounds the enemy camp and scares them into submission. Today, we are going to focus on a different aspect of the story; we are going to learn more about Gideon before anyone knew his name.
Our story opens on a hard and bleak scene. Israel has once again deserted the LORD and fallen into the hands on Midian. Midian was not a typical enemy. The Midinites didn’t come through and kill the people, they let them live but would take everything they could. They made it hard for the Israelites to harvest enough to eat. Israel was going through a very hard time.
Enter Gideon, the youngest kid in the weakest clan (family group); translation, he had zip power and had to do all the dirty work. He had been sent out to thresh the gain and being the brave man he was, he was threshing it in a winepress to keep it from the Midinites. Did you get that? He was so scared he was willing to inhale all the chaff so rather than run the rick of bing spotted. So it is here, when God makes his move.
When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12 NIV
Can you imagine it? Here Gideon was hiding just to thresh a little wheat and some guy comes up to him and calls him a warrior. I can just see Gideon looking around to see if maybe he was talking to someone else. His response if translated into modern vernacular would be something along the lines of; You’ve got to be kidding.
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.” Judges 6:14 NIV
Here is Gideon, the man who is about to do a mighty things yet he is scared to death. An angel is standing in front of him and still he believes he is too weak, the odds are to insurmountable. It is that way in our own lives, isn’t it? God has great plans in mind for you but we are afraid to try new things, we are frightened by our enemies, we feel too weak and small to carry out a great task.
Remember the verses at the beginning?
“I do not have time to tell about Gideon… whose weakness was turned to strength…”
God stands, ready to turn our weakness to strength, if we will only let him. He knows we have fears, doubts and worries, but like the Gideon learned; those are not insurmountable issues.
I don’t know what is going on in your life right now, but I want you to know that God is going to be there in your moment of weakness, just like he was for Gideon. Also like Gideon, he has amazing plans for you, to show himself strong in your weakness.
“But he (the LORD) said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:28-31