February 23, 2009

Lessons From The First "300"-God Uses The Unlikely To Lead

As the story of Gideon opens we find that Israel is under the oppression of the nation of Midian. Midian sweeps into the land & steals crops & basically terrorizes the countryside. The Bible says that some people had even taken to living in caves to hide from the Midianites.

Then we find that the people finally cry out to God. After all, their disobedience & unfaithfulness is what got them in this situation to begin with. God of course hears their cries & calls out one to be the "judge", the one who will rescue the nation of Israel from the oppression of Midian. God calls out the most qualified leader & bravest man in all the land right? Wrong!

God calls a farmer. In fact, God calls a cowardly farmer. When Gideon is introduced, he is in a winepress threshing wheat. A winepress just might be the worst place to thresh wheat that a person could think of. However, he was in there because of his fear of the Midianites. He didn't want to be seen. He was trying to keep his crop hidden. The greeting that God's angel uses for Gideon gives us some insight. The angel refers to Gideon as a "valiant warrior". As far as I can tell there's not much about Gideon that you could describe as valiant. So why did God choose that terminology?

I think it's because God see us as we can be, not just as we are. God has a deeper understanding of our identity than we do. We don't really have the whole picture most of the time. We focus simply on what is happening now. However, God sees what could be if we would simply surrender ourselves & follow Him in faith.

Gideon was a nobody in our terms. He came from an unimportant family from an unimportant tribe of Israel. On top of that, he was the baby of the family, & in that day & age, that pretty much meant you were the least important of the family. Gideon didn't seem to have any reason to be selected for this calling. Yet God uses the unlikely to lead. He calls out the ones that no one else bothers to pay much attention to. He knows that when these people follow Him & are a part of His work, He will receive glory for it. If God called out a military genius to lead Israel, there's a good chance the people would take all the credit for the victory, but with a farmer leading the way....now that's definitely a God thing.

If you feel like God is calling you to something bigger than you, that's OK. In fact, that's kind of the point. If you don't feel qualified to be where God has placed you, that's OK. It's not about your qualifications; it's about His sufficiency. It's about knowing your real identity. It's about knowing who God is making you to be simply by your following Him faithfully day by day.

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