Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Because He said so

When the Israelites cried out to the LORD because of Midian, 8 he sent them a prophet, who said, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: I brought you up out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 9 I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians. And I delivered you from the hand of all your oppressors; I drove them out before you and gave you their land. 10 I said to you, ‘I am the LORD your God; do not worship the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you live.’ But you have not listened to me.”  11 

The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.

The account of Gideon is at the center of a seemingly carefully constructed story of the twelve judges. Just like the judges before him, he is walking in a season which bears the weight of sin. The Israelites failed to destroy the Canaanites and their gods. Thus, a pattern is established. A Deuteronomic cycle is initiated. The Israelites cease serving Yahweh. He abandons them to their enemies. They eventually cry out for help. And God answers them by raising up a judge who will lead them into victory over their oppressor by His Spirit. At some time later, the cycle repeats itself.

Gideon is living in the beginning stages of such a cycle. God's people have not served Him. God has given them over to the Midianites. The Midianites ravage the Israelites' land, taking their crops and their livestock. The Israelites have to seek shelter in mountain clefts and caves for protection (6:1-6).

And there Gideon is. Threshing wheat in a winepress in the attempt to safeguard that which is sustenance for he and his family. Working in a place not conducive to his work. Hiding himself, his life and his food from the enemy who steals.

And there the angel of the LORD appears. Speaking a name over a man who does not reflect such an attribute yet. Calling forth life over those things which dwelt in the bay of fear and death. Empowering an available spirit to do that which He had called him to do.

"The LORD is with you, mighty warrior."

We aren't provided with a prior account of Gideon, but I'm going to make the safe assumption that Gideon didn't feel very mighty or like much of a warrior. Now I will certainly give him some credit for being out there threshing wheat. He's being obedient to his call at that point in time. He's doing the small thing in the midst of challenging circumstances. But, when He hears God's call, his response is somewhat of a respectful 'Pardon me?' His lack of God-centered confidence continues: 'But I am the least in my family.' It gets worse, bless his heart. He asks for three different signs from God before he attempts the first battle and works in the  night on one occasion out of fear that others may see him. 

Maybe that's why I love my boy Gideon so much. Maybe that's why I love my God so much more. I can relate.

For when God speaks, words do not come back void. When God speaks, He accompanies it with action. When God speaks, heaven and earth are created out of nothingness. When God speaks, it is so.

It is a done deal for Him. Because He can see His purposes to completion.

And He does.

"But the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet." And the Midianites were defeated with Gideon and his 300 men (Judges 6:33 - 7:25)

A man going about his ordinary business called to something extraordinary. A man lacking belief in what God said he would do, even after the signs, who was not just called to something extraordinary, but deemed something extraordinary.

A mighty warrior you are Gideon. Not because you have acted as one. Not because you have won a single battle. But because I say you are. And I watch over my Word to see it accomplished (Jeremiah 1:12).

The LORD God calls those things which are not, as though they are (Romans 4:17).

God calls you by name child. Dare to believe you are who He says you are. For even if you do not feel it is your present reality, the God who speaks can make it so. And you'll know it was all Him. Go forth, mighty warrior, in the empowering Spirit of Christ who is with you.


~Joy-N-Jesus~ said...

That was a blessing and so true. Thank you for posting this! I came across your blog while reading comments on Beth's blog. Blessings fellow sista in Christ!

Kelly S. said...

THANK YOU. This was so encouraging to me.