Why are we sometimes reluctant to serve God? Why are we often uncertain about our talents and anxious about failures? Gideon’s story may be considered an image booster as his excuses not to serve God can possibly sound familiar. In Judges 6:14-15, Gideon responded to God by saying, “My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” What did God say? “Go in the strength you have.” These are powerful words even to us today. With Gideon and for us, in countless situations we have had to use only available resources! We have been and are still limited without God. He owns everything and everything belongs to Him! Gideon had strengths that were undiscovered just like we possess. God gives us abilities that make us unique with strengths that allow us to valiantly triumph over of challenges. Sure, we may feel inadequate as Gideon did sometimes, but God has given all of us great strengths that are greater than our weaknesses! Also He has said, “I will be with you” (Judges 6:16).
Let us add the words of the prophet Isaiah (800s BC) who also said, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13). Flashback to Isaiah 31 where the Israelites were warned not to rely on the place or the resources instead of God. Sometimes God is not asked to help us. We may possibly forget the source of our help. Earthly possessions are powerless and they can disappear at God’s will.
Gideon might not have known that God would bless His people. The Lord is compassionate when we cry to Him for help and He will answer. God lets us move through problems, rise above troubles, go around them, but is available to reach us without a search for Him. He will cause our idols to be thrown away and prosperity will increase for His people! God can create situations in our lives where we must submit to Him with ever present faith.
In Gideon’s time the Israelites sinned against the Lord, so He let the Midianites, who were stronger, rule them for seven years. Were hiding places available? Can we hide from almighty God? Sure, they hid in caves and other safe places in the hills. As Judges 6 is read, we learn that all types of survival problems occurred because of the enemies (the Amalekites and other desert tribes). Verse 13 of chapter 6 announced Gideon’s doubt about the Lord. In verse 14 God gave orders and assured Gideon of His help. Who could imagine Gideon asking of proof of God’s existence (Judges 6:17)?
Gideon’s excuses centered around his doubts of God being with the Israelites, the absence of God’s miracles, family weaknesses and his personal worth (Judges 6:11-16). In fewer words, it can be said that Gideon doubted God’s presence and he feared conquering his enemies. He needed reassuring words from God. Gideon wanted signs (Judges 6:25-32; 6:36-40; 7:9-14). How can we use this story to become spiritually stronger and to encourage others to serve God? We can remind ourselves and others that God is always present. We can always share His word and pray for a variety of opportunities to serve Him!
Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.