How, When Weakest and Least?

“The angel of the Lord appeared to [Gideon] and said, ‘The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.’ And Gideon said, ‘Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds..? But now the Lord has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.’ And the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?’ And he said, ‘Please, Lord, how can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.’  And the Lord said to him, ‘But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man…’

“‘Peace be to you. Do not fear; you shall not die.’ Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and called it, The Lord Is Peace… The Spirit of the Lord clothed Gideon…

“The Lord said to Gideon, ‘The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, “My own hand has saved me.” Now therefore proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home…’” Then 22,000 of the people returned, and 10,000 remained.

“And the Lord said to Gideon, ‘The people are still too many…’  So he brought the people down to the water… And the Lord said, ‘With the 300 men who lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hand.’” Judges 6:12-16,23-24a,34a; 7:2-4a,5,7a

The Lord knew Gideon’s valor before the man had an inkling. He chose him to reveal His might and care for Israel in a unique way, and persevered with him to develop his faith through questions and insecurities and need for reassuring proof. He whittled away at every prop that would bring human security to show Gideon and Israel that His presence with them was their forever Shalom and victory. (Judges 6:17-22; 36-40; 7:9-15; 18-22)

God sees us as the people we are in Christ and will become in Him. He is patient with our questions, learning, and doubts, and perseveres to sanctify us as people of valor and godly purpose. He intentionally plants us in situations where we must rely on Him and not ourselves, training us to use our gifts in His power and for His glory alone. (1 Peter 2:9-10; 1 John 3:1)

It is the mysterious way of Christ to confound our thinking to exalt Himself. He upturns worldly wisdom into foolishness, just as He divinely turned the horror of crucifixion to effect salvation and eternal life. He takes our small and least and makes them great to bless the masses. His ways are not ours; they are so much higher and better! (Isaiah 55:8-9; John 6:5-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

What present weaknesses and doubts are opportunities to experience God’s powerful presence? What gnarling temptations can give way to His victory? How can my inability and meager be used to bring glory to the able, bountiful God? For whom can I intercede to grow in faith and deepen in worship by seeing God’s marvelous hand, opened way, or provision?

Lord, release me from limited thinking and weak faith. Please work in such a way that it is obvious You have done it, so You receive all the praise.

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