“Now the Angel of the LORD came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him, “The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!”
So he said to Him, “O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” And the LORD said to him, “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.””
Judges 6:11-12, 15-16 NKJV
End from the beginning
If I had a theme verse for what God has done with my life it would likely be I Corinithians 1:27. In using me, God has shown His sovereignty, as I am the least of all brethren, and more often than not, foolish. Looking at my history before Jesus, I would not be the one considered to be follower of Jesus, let alone useful. I was rebrobate, desperately sinful and lost.
“But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.”
I Corinthians 1:27-29 NKJV
But God, looked upon me and knew what I would be in Christ. I have also learned that I have to be consistently connected to my Lord, or else I fall.
Reading through the book of Judges, I see all the flawed servants of the Lord from history. Today I read of Gideon. He was the least of his father’s household, from the weakest clan in the half tribe of Manassah. He went about his work in hiding, when the Lord stopped to watch.
The Angel of the Lord, preincarnate Christ, watches him about his work and greets him. “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” God sees the end from the beginning, not what we are, but what we will be. He knows all the things we will do, all the sins, the moments of obedience. Even with all that, Jesus chooses to use us.
Like Gideon at the wine press, Jesus is watching us, as we make our way through this world. He sees our efforts, and, more importantly, our hearts. He feeds our desire, and increases it by the power of the Holy Spirit.
We are inherently weak and can do nothing wiithout God. When God is with us, we can do all that we must, in the way that He has ordained.
We move from powerless babes, to mighty warriors with God’s help. When we encounter Jesus, abiding in Him, He begins to build our faith.
Gideon tested God with the fleece, to know if He had God’s will. We receive confirmation by reading His word, and seeing His will based on the empirical evidence found in the Scriptures. If what we desire to lines up with God’s patterns and His values, we can proceed.
As we seek the Lord, act by faith, and see His subsequent faithfulness, we become stronger, more willing to do the work that He has for us. We are filled with the Holy Spirit and He empowers us.
I think back to my days as a baby Christian, and all the faithless weakness that was of my life. In looking back, I can see how God has worked in me and through me, seizing upon the opportunities afforded to me by Jesus, and growing.
Greater opportunities followed, as I proceeded with baby steps, walking with unsteady gait, fullfilling His mission for me. He was with me every step of the way, supporting me, filling me with His Holy Spirit. He has made me alive, new, empowered.
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),”
Ephesians 2:1-2, 4-5 NKJV
I have been separated from the world. Jesus has taken one lost and bound for hell, and made me useful to His work. He did it by His grace, and I had little to do with His choice.
As He has changed my heart, I have become a warrior, only by His will, serving my Lord as He affords opportunity. The story of Gideon in chapter eight depicts a servant focused on receiving the direction of the Lord.
Later on in the story, we see Gideon following the instructions to the letter, though at times, I am sure he had his doubts. Throughout the his ministry, he maintained that focus, and did not lean upon his own strength.
Brothers and sisters, remember that God sees your end from the beginning. He sees you as you will be, not as you are. By leaning on Him and submitting to His will, you will grow in the faith. By seeking Him in His word, and through prayer and fellowship, you become the mighty warrior that God sees.
With God with you, you will be able to live out your faith, and fulfill the ministry He Jesus has set before you.
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