Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Thursday, 18 April 19:
Judges 6:14 — “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?”
Once again, God calls us to do what is impossible for us to do by our own strength so that the world can see the power of God operating through His people, bringing glory to Him rather than to the people. Today, the angel of the Lord appears to Gideon, a man of social insignificance who is hiding out from the Midianites in a winepress (a hole), and the angel addresses Him as “mighty man of valor (Judges 6:11).” The irony of this address is as clear to the reader as it is to Gideon, and the angel’s charge to Gideon to “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian” is from all human observations downright absurd.
The Midianites were heavily armed, highly trained, ruthless, camel-riding marauders who fought for a living and who significantly outnumbered the Israelites (“both they and their camels could not be counted”). Conversely, the Israelites had succumbed to subjugation (“Was shield or spear to be seen among forty thousand in Israel?”) and had gone into hiding in dens and caves in the mountains.
Gideon was not only weak, he also lacked faith. Apart from God, Gideon was powerless before the Midianites, but God was not asking Gideon to do what Gideon could do, God was commanding Gideon to OBEY in faith because God could work through him to accomplish His purpose with His power for His glory. This command to Gideon caused him a crisis of belief. Even after the angel of the Lord appeared to him, Gideon asked for a series of “signs” that might prove his calling.
It doesn’t take faith to do what we know we can do with our own abilities. It always takes faith to do what only God can make possible – “And without faith it is impossible to please him (Hebrews 11:6).” What made Gideon a “mighty man of valor”? God’s answer to Gideon is the same answer God gives us: “The Lord is with you…. do not I send you?” (Judges 6:12-14)
The question is, what will we do when God’s call to us to do the impossible causes a crisis of belief for us? Will we have the faith to step into the Red Sea, fiery furnace, or the lion’s den, putting our lives on the line for the Lord? Or will we be like the districts of Reuben, Gilead, Dan, and Asher who refused to stand and be counted for the fight (see Judges 5:15-18). What will be recorded of you in the Book of Life?” We need only take ownership of the might God has given us.
– Henry T. Blackaby offers the following: “In Gideon’s mind, victory over the Midianites was an impossibility, and he was absolutely right! The Midianites, along with their allies, overwhelmed the feeble Hebrews. Yet the moment God told Gideon to fight them, victory was no longer an impossibility! When Jesus commanded His small group of followers to make disciples of all nations, was that possible (Matt. 28:19)? Certainly, if Jesus said it was! When Jesus told His disciples to love their enemies, was He being realistic? Of course, because He was the One who would achieve reconciliation through them (2 Cor. 5:19–20). Do you treat commands like these as implausible? Do you modify God’s word to find an interpretation that seems reasonable to you? Don’t discount what is possible with God (Phil. 4:13). When God gives an assignment, it is no longer an impossibility, but rather it is an absolute certainty. When God gives you a seemingly impossible task, the only thing preventing it from coming to pass is your disobedience. When God speaks, it can scare you to death! He will lead you to do things that are absolutely impossible in your own strength. But God will grant you victory, step by step, as you obey Him. How do you respond to assignments that seem impossible? Do you write them off as unattainable? Or do you immediately adjust your life to God’s revelation, watching with anticipation to see how He will accomplish His purposes through your obedience? God wants to do the impossible through your life. All He requires is your obedience.”
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 18 Apr 19: Today, practice trusting in God’s strength rather than yours. Be willing to do what God says, even if it seems impossible, simply because God commanded it — this is faith and hope. Today, search your heart for the motivations behind your actions. Seek to do what God has commanded you simply out of love, not out of fear, a hope for reward, or out of a self-righteous sense of honor and duty.