One of the oddest greetings recorded in Scripture is when the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon and proclaimed, “The Lord is with you mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12b).
Gideon must have felt like anything but a might warrior at the time. The Midianites had invaded Israel, and their oppression was so severe that Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep the Midianites from stealing it. Rather than confronting the enemy, this “mighty warrior” was hiding from them!
After hearing this greeting, Gideon had some questions. He wanted to know “…But if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about…?” (6:13b). “The Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’” (6:14).
We may have some questions of our own for the Lord. If the Lord is with us: Why is abortion still legal? Why do so many people think that homosexuality is OK? Why did COVID 19 happen? Why is the Taliban back in power? Why is there human trafficking in our nation? Why is Christianity openly mocked by so many people in the United States? Why are so many children abused? Why are so many bad things happening if the Lord is with us?
Instead of answering our questions, God seems to say to us the same thing that he said to Gideon, “Go in the strength you have. Am I not sending you?” Rather than question God, we would do better to obey him and carry out whatever assignment he has given us.
Gideon then resorted to excuses, a common human trait. He pointed out that his clan was the weakest one in his tribe and that he was the least in his family (6:15). Humility is a wonderful quality, but it can sometimes be used as an excuse to avoid serving the Lord. Let’s always strive to be humble, yet obedient.
Gideon then asked for confirmation of God’s call. Gideon put a fleece on the ground overnight. The next morning he found the fleece wet with dew, but the ground dry, just as Gideon had asked. The next night he put the fleece out again. This time the fleece was dry the next morning, but the ground was wet, just as Gideon has asked God to do. At this, Gideon was convinced that God had indeed really spoken to him and had given him this assignment.
We still talk about “putting out a fleece” to confirm that God wants us to take on a specific task or go in a certain direction. He often confirms his assignment to us through circumstances that cannot possibly be a coincidence, or by sending other believers to advise us that this does indeed seem to be God’s will for our lives. Once we get the confirmation, then we must spring into action.
Chapter 7 tells us how God thinned out Gideon’s army. The Lord didn’t want the Israelites to think that they had defeated the Midianites through their own strength. They must know most certainly that it was the Lord who gave them the victory. So an army that was once 32,000 strong quickly became a mere 300 men!
If this seems to be unorthodox, wait until you hear the battle plan. The 300 warriors were to face off against the mighty Midianite army by waving a torch, blowing a trumpet and giving out a shout. The plan worked! The Lord confused the Midianite soldiers. First they turned on each other, then they ran. The Israelites pursued them, captured their leaders and won the victory—just as the Lord had said!
You may not feel much like a mighty warrior right now, but God sees you for what you can be if you align yourself with him. So put your questions and excuses behind you, obey God and go out in the strength that you have. You will find that the Lord will be with you and he will give you the victory. And it will all be for his glory!