Gideon - The Impacting "Nobody"
For indeed, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the ABC of God's oracles over again; it has come to this, that you need milk instead of solid food. Anyone who lives on milk, being an infant, does not know what is right. But grown men can take solid food; their perceptions are trained by long use to discriminate between good and evil" (Hebrews 5:12-14, New English Bible).
In the Book of Judges, Chapters Six through to Eight, we read of the wonderful transformation of a man who saw himself as "poor" and the "least in his father's house"into a mighty deliverer for the glory of God.
His life came onto the scene at a time when his nation (Israel) were living under a seven-year dominion of the Midianites. The strategy of Midian was to keep the Israelites "greatlyimpoverished" ("lean, poor, thin, weak"). They controlled the food supplies and, therefore, weakened the people.
As a result of the Israelites predicament, they began to cry out to God for help. God heard their cry and sent a prophet (Judges 6:8). The prophet brought the Word of the Lord to Israel, rebuking them for their disobedience to God's voice (Judges 6:9-10).
After this an angel of the Lord came and visited our "inferior, fearful and frightened 'nobody'" who was hiding by a winepress threshing wheat. Winepresses are for treading grapes and making wine, not for threshing wheat!
The man's name was Gideon (meaning "the cutter down" or "great warrior") and he was at that time anything but the meaning of his name!
(He was like the person of Hebrews 5:12-14)!
Picture the scene: Israel were living and hiding in the mountains and in caves (Judges 6:1-2). They were fighting for survival. Food was scarce and anything the Israelites planted and cultivated for themselves, when found by the Midianites, was confiscated right at the time it was ready for eating. Gideon had managed to grow some wheat secretly and was in the process of threshing it - most likely for himself - when the angel of God appeared. Gideon would have been malnourished, hungry and lean! Yet, in spite of the circumstances, the angel proclaimed to Gideon, "The Lord is with you, you mighty ("strong, powerful, very great in extent, importance") man of valour ("strength: courageous and brave, especially in battle")"(Judges 6:11-12).
Did God not understand Gideon's lot?
Didn't God know what had happened to Israel?
Of course He did!
God was already working on the answer!
God is always working on the answer, more than on the problem (which is what we usually see!).
"God is with you Gideon! With God you're a winner! With God you are not limited to the circumstances about you! God is BIGGER than all of them put together! Even in an adverse situation like this YOU CAN RISE AND BE A WINNER, GIDEON!" the angel was seeming to say to him.
God wanted him to break through and break out!!
But Gideon was so caught up into his circumstances and his mind was so full of doubting and questions ... maybe even hurt ... anger and bitterness against God Himself ... for "allowing" Israel to be in such a state.
On hearing the positive word from the angel he immediately blurted out,
" ... If the Lord is with us, why then have all these things happened? and where are all the miracles of God that I've heard about," etc. (Judges 6:12-13).
How many of us are just like that?
So full of questions, reasonings and doubts!
We have allowed the negative happenings in life to cloud out God and we no longer see what He can do because of what we're going through.
God didn't even answer his questions! He wasn't there to debate or argue with a puny man. He was there to show him the way out.
The Bible says: "God looked on him and God spoke to him." God said, "Go in this your might and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have I not sent you?" (Judges 6:14).
God told Gideon HE WAS THE ANSWER to Israel's problem!
But Gideon could not see what God could see - unlimited potential full of unlimited possibilities!
So he continued to argue with God from a purely natural point of view:
"How can I save Israel? My family is poor ("lean, needy, weak") and I am the least in the whole family ... God, You've got the wrong man!" (Judges 6:15).
Then Gideon thought he was going to die because he had seen an angel (Judges 6:16-23).
The effect of that revelation so impacted Gideon that he built an altar unto God, calling it "Jehovah-shalom" (meaning "God is peace") and was ready to start taking God at His Word.
Oh, how we need to have a revelation of the potential and possibilities that are ours in God.
Nothing is too hard for God!
Let us give Him an opportunity to do what He wants - with us and within us! He holds the key to every situation and can lift our life out of its hunger and despair, and even use us to touch other lives in a powerful way.
SENT ON A MISSION:
The next we read of Gideon is that of God sending him on a mission. He was to throw down the idolatrous altars of his father and build another altar to God "in the ordered place" or "place of arrangement" (Judges 6:25-27).
Even though Gideon still had some fear in his heart, he obeyed God. The next day he was found out, and by God's grace, he was delivered from those who wanted him dead.
Gideon began to rise.
The Spirit of God came on him and he began to show his leadership skills.
People gathered unto him.
He began making decisions, sending messengers out around the region to call the people together (Judges 6:33-35).
He put a fleece out, which God answered miraculously both times (Judges 6:36-40).
Gideon rose up in confidence.
Chapter Seven of Judges tells us how Gideon, with a band of 300 men, defeated the Midianites and released Israel from their cruel hands.
The inferior, fearful and frightened nobody had changed!
Instead of him being afraid, the enemy now feared him!
He was no longer living an introverted "feeling sorry for himself" lifestyle. He had been impacted by the truth of God to look above and beyond his circumstances.
It released him to rise and discover the keys that enabled him to release other captives from their circumstances, and rout the enemy that controlled them.
Gideon rose up in God!
God invested into Gideon by an angelic visitation and the Word of the Lord.
Gideon responded to it.
What about us? Are we responding to the Word of the Lord today?
He became a great leader!
Chapter Eight tells us more of Gideon's exploits.
ONE LIFE CAN IMPACT A NATION:
Gideon's life should inspire every one of us to have hope for a better tomorrow.
He had no real answers for himself, BUT GOD DID!
Once Gideon saw the possibilities in God, he began to respond.
He began to believe in God's Word to him.
He began to believe he could change. . . just as soon as he began to be a leader rather than a follower.
The more Gideon responded to the truth of God, the more prominent he became as a leader.
His life made such an impact that the nation of Israel "was in quietness for forty years in the days of Gideon" (Judges 8:28, KJV).
"Thus was Midian subdued before the Israelites, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the land had peace and rest for forty years in the days of Gideon"(Judges 8:28, AMP.).
Gideon led a nation out of its defeat into a 40-year-long period of victory and peace!
What a leader!
One man - impacted by God - turned a whole nation from defeat to victory and peace!
It all happened because he allowed God to first IMPACT his own weak, miserable existence and draw him out of himself into God's marvellous strength that opens up divine possibilities.
He moved from living on "the milk" and got into "the meat" of God's will where he could discern the will of God for his life! It certainly wasn't that of hiding in the winepress threshing wheat!
If it could happen to a weakling like Gideon, IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU!
Break through and break out to the glory of God!