“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!” Gideon said to Him, “O my Lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the Lord has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?””
Judges 6:11-14 NKJV
Reading about Gideon this morning, I am once again reminded that it is the Lord that is the One doing the work. He is everlasting and knows the end from the beginning. When He countered Gideon, the Angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Christ, saw Him not for whom He was in the moment, but who He would be as He served the Lord.
Gideon was the least of his father’s sons, and of the tribe that was the least of the children of Israel. But God was with Him. So many have come to the cross of Christ, humbled, damaged and overlooked, who have then gone on to be empowered to the glory of God.
I recall a night, after having endured my thrice weekly dialysis session, feeling ever so sick that I desired to do nothing but sit in my recliner and sleep. But I had a mission that night, as the Lord had established me in a ministry where I helped the Chaplain at the Fort Des Moines Correctional Facility. It was my time to present the talk.
I somehow made it to the Fort, delivered the message the Lord had given me through His word, and three men came to Christ. It was not the cleverness of my speech, or the clarity of my delivery, but the power of Holy Spirit, working in the hearts of the men. The Lord had chosen to use me even in my frailty.
The Lord uses who He chooses to use. He is able to see who we are in Him, and what we will be. He is not lost on the surface details.
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.””
I Samuel 16:7 NKJV
Each of us has a moment when we are given a calling. Very often that calling can seem daunting, and far beyond what we may think we alone can accomplish. But through Jesus, we can do the impossible, endure the most wearisome struggle and overcome any hurdle on the way to completing the ordained will of God.
I think of Peter, brash and impulsive, having denied the Lord Jesus three times. He would be the least likely to stand for the Gospel. But Jesus knew Him, just as He knew Gideon, and foresaw what Peter would become.
“But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.”
Acts 2:14-17 NKJV
He stood by the power of the Holy Spirit, and driven by the word of God, he delivered a Gospel message that resulted in three thousand souls being saved.
Later he would stand in opposition against the religious establishment and they would marvel because they knew that the disciples had been with Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, I know that there are many Gideons among us, many who do not feel worthy of a calling to serve the Lord. They might be the ones who sit in the back of the church, hoping not to be seen. They might be the ones who look away, ducking down when the pastor is seeking volunteers.
The Lord is looking for those He can use. He is examining people, not based open their apparent strengths, but for the willingness of their hearts. Like Gideon, He gives courage as He sends. Those of us who call upon the name of the Lord will need much courage in the coming days, weeks, months and perhaps, years, for we will be charged with sharing the Gospel ion a world that does not want to hear it.
Even now there are issues in the public sphere that will set those who believe the Bible at odds with the world. There will come a day when we will face persecution because we dared to tear down the idols to Baal, to abortion, and to all manner of false identity.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.””
Joshua 1:9 NKJV
“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
Revelation 2:10 NKJV
You might be one who has fallen, struggling with ongoing sin, feeling as if the Lord cannot use you for anything. The voice of the evil one fills you ears with negative messages and charges. Know this: God is not done with you. Our Lord has the power to lift you out of your sin and place you on solid ground. Call out to Him for deliverance.
It is all hands on deck, my brothers and sisters!
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