Many chapters in the book begin with the phrase, "Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord..." Over and over God's people turned away from Him and worshiped the false gods of the people in whose land they were living. Over and over God gave the people over to their enemies because they had abandoned Him. Again and again the people pleaded with God to rescue them, so He sent people to care for them, rescue them from their enemies, and lead them into victorious battles.
Only when God was in charge of the Israelites did they win those battles. And God almost always chose the unlikeliest of people to lead Israel. One of those people was Gideon. He, his family and their people were in a desperate situation. The Midianites had taken over their land, destroyed all their crops and livestock, and forced Israel to flee to caves and hideouts in the mountains for refuge. Israel was so afraid of Midian that when Gideon, the youngest of his father's sons, was given the job of threshing wheat, he had to do it in a winepress in order to not be seen by the Midianites (Judges 6:1-11).
It was this man, who had lost almost everything and living in constant fear, who God called to lead His people.
Gideon was reluctant. He protested that he was too young and weak. He asked where God had been, why He had abandoned His people to Midian (Judges 6:13-15).
God was patient. He reassured Gideon. He gave him instructions, and God also gave Gideon proof and signs that God would do what He had promised. He would save Israel.
And he did. Gideon gathered thirty-two thousand men from the tribes of Israel. In order to make clear that God would save them, not Gideon, God instructed Gideon to pare down the army from the thirty-two thousand, to twenty-two thousand, to three hundred men. Those three hundred were the men God used to rescue Israel from the Midianites.
(The battle story is an exciting one. To read the whole thing, go to Judges chapter seven!)
Gideon and the Israelites are not unlike many believers in God today. We often ignore His laws, and then question God as to why He has abandoned us--when it is not He who has left us, but we who have left Him. Then, when he calls us to serve him, we protest that we are unable, that we need more proof from God that this is really what he wants us to do.
This is exactly what Israel did, and it is exactly what I see myself doing.
I don't always obey God. Then, when I have troubles, I wonder why He's not getting me out of them. It's not that He's turned away from me. It's I who have turned away from Him!
He is gracious, and He still calls me his child. He still has work for me to do. But I question whether or not I can do it.
I'm just a young woman. I don't have much experience in anything. I don't have money to travel anywhere to share the Gospel. I'm not that good of a writer. I fail all the time as a wife.
I protest and find excuses why I'm not qualified to serve God.
Why do I think it's all about me?
God doesn't need me. He has chosen me to serve Him, and to help fulfill His purposes.
He doesn't rely on MY strength to fulfill His will. He gives me HIS strength!
No, Gideon wasn't qualified.
I'm not either.
But that doesn't matter to God. We don't get in His way.
He gives us jobs to do, and then He gives us the means to do them.
All He does is ask that we are obedient. That we listen to Him, and follow His calling.
And we can have faith that He will do what He has promised.
God will take care of us. He will provide for us. It will not always be in the way we imagine. But it will be in the way that God knows is best, and that will bring Him glory.
Have you ever heard this phrase:
"God doesn't call the equipped. He equips those He calls."
That was true for Gideon.
It is true for me.
AND it is true for you.
God has a plan for you. You are someone He has chosen to help carry out His purposes. Whatever He calls you to do, He will enable you to do it.
He is big, almighty, eternal, and all-powerful. We can trust that He will keep His promises...just like he did for Gideon.