Lessons from Gideon,
When we first meet Gideon, we find a man who is desperately in need of transformation. He has an appallingly negative self-image, describing himself as the least of the weakest. He thinks that God does not love Israel and has abandoned them. He is believing lies about himself and lies about God. In short, he’s a hot mess.
But God does not leave him there. He begins the transformation by revealing that He sees Gideon as a “mighty warrior.” He also reveals His plan for him: “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (You can find out more about this exchange by reading the first part of this series: http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/who-are-you-listening-to).
God tells him to go “in the strength you have.” Gideon sees himself as weak, but God, who created him, knows his true potential. Perhaps you feel like Gideon (I know at times I have). Let God speak to you as He did to Gideon. You are stronger than you think.
Stronger Than You Think
But God has more for Gideon (and you!) The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” (Judges 6:16) Gideon was stronger than he thought, but he had so much more: the assurance that God would be with him. God is always there with us, no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in. We have the victory in Him!
Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” And the Lord said, “I will wait until you return.” (Judges 6:17-18) There are several things to notice here. First, “if I have found favor in your eyes…” God has been speaking kindly to him, yet Gideon still seeks reassurance of God’s approval. I’ve often found myself doing the same thing. It’s important to see that God is not angry with Gideon– and He’s not angry with you or me. If you’re a Christian, God sees you as His beloved child. Yes, there may be times when He disciplines us, when He allows us to suffer the consequences of our wrong actions. But He never stops loving us, and He’s always right there to help us.
Gideon asks God to do two things for him: he asks for a sign, and he asks Him to wait. And God gives him everything he asks for.
Everything He Asks For
First, God waits. Judges 6:19 says, “Gideon went inside, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak.” This is one short verse, but understand that quite a long period of time passes. Gideon has to cook both a young goat and some bread, and there was no microwave available. No fast food in those days; meal preparation took time. And what is God doing as all this time passes? He waits. And waits. And waits.
We often get impatient when we’re in recovery. We think, “Why is this so hard? Why is it taking so long?” But God is not in a hurry. He’s not impatient with us; quite the opposite, in fact. And often He’s waiting for us to do something: take that first step, work the program, follow through on some action we need to take. If you’ve been feeling a bit stressed and impatient, perhaps you need to ask yourself if there’s something He’s waiting for you to do? He’s not going anywhere; He will be right there, helping you. He will wait until you’re finished, just like Gideon.
Second, God gives Gideon the sign he asked for: The angel of the Lord said, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. Then the angel of the Lord touched the meat and the unleavened bread with the tip of the staff that was in his hand. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared.” (Judges 6:20-21) First the offering is soaking wet, and then the rock catches fire and the offering is vaporized! I can almost see God’s grin as Gideon watches the dramatic display.
You Want A Sign? You Got It!
It’s intended to impress Gideon, of course. But Gideon has another reaction: fear. When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the Lord, he exclaimed, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” (Judges 6:22) Can you hear the terror in his voice? Gideon has been ruled by fear all his life. Forget “mighty warrior”– he’s ready to run!
But the Lord said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” (Judges 6:23)
God makes three short but powerful statements:
- “Peace!” This is an imperative sentence, a command. He desires to bring peace to Gideon’s life– and to yours as well. Turn your turmoil over to Him, and let Him wrap His peace around you.
- “Do not be afraid.” Throughout the Bible, God has told His people not to fear. When almighty God is by your side, what is there to fear? You have all the power of the universe working for you.
- “You are not going to die.” God gives Gideon a promise: both now and in battle, he will not die. He will live, for God has a plan and a purpose for Gideon– and for you.
So Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and called it The Lord Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” (Judges 6:24)
Gideon’s transformation has begun– but God has so much more in store for him. This is not “THE END”– it’s only the beginning. That’s true of us, too– God has more. Stay tuned!
Related Post: Who Are You Listening To? Lessons from Gideon, part 1 http://www.livingthetransformedlife.com/who-are-you-listening-to
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