Scared and Helpless…But Bold and Invincible

Spell check. One page. Spell check. Be truthful. Spell check. Only pertinent information. Spell check.

Those were the rules I learned way back in high school when I took a class on designing a resume.

Did I mention spell check?

A resume provides that crucial first impression that we all desire. We want potential employers to recognize at a glance our exceptional skill and qualifications. While we are careful not to exaggerate, neither do we want to sell ourselves short.

Why? Employers want to find the best. They look for a proven track record. They need evidence that the new hire will perform well.

God, however, often takes a different approach. While sometimes He recruits those with great skill, He doesn’t always go for the prime candidate. Remember David? Even though he was just an ordinary guy to begin with, God was able to use him because he had passion, faithfulness, and courage.

You might have thought, “Well, that’s not me! I’m not passionate enough, I doubt God’s power, I’ve failed, and I’m scared.”

Is there any hope?

Oh, yeah. Today we turn to a guy by the name of Gideon. It seems like everything David was, he was not.

We meet Gideon at a time when the troublesome Midianites were oppressing Israel, destroying all the crops and animals that they could find. The Israelites, fearing for their lives, cowered in caves to escape detection by the enemy.

One day Gideon sneaked to his winepress so he could attempt to thresh some wheat. He likely kept an eye on his surroundings, ready to bolt if a Midianite happened by.

Suddenly an angel appeared and called out: “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12).

I can see Gideon looking around to see who else was standing there. “Who, me?”

I’m sure Gideon did not feel much like a man of valor, hiding out in the winepress just so he could thresh his wheat. His response indicated skepticism. “What do you mean, ‘The Lord is with you’? If He is with us, why are we being oppressed by the Midianites? Don’t tell me that God is with me. He is nowhere to be found!”

God’s reply is interesting. He ignored Gideon’s complaint and cut to the chase. “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites” (Judges 6:14).

“What might? How can I save Israel from the Midianites? Remember, I’m scared of them—that’s why I’m threshing wheat in the winepress. Besides, I’m not even from a respectable family! And I’m the least in that family.”

God’s response: “Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man” (Judges 6:16).

Let me attempt to sum up God’s reply in another way: “Gideon, I want you to do this for one reason: you can’t.”

Did I hear that right? Who gets a job solely because they are unqualified?

Apparently, God does it that way. In the end, after Gideon had whittled his army down to a mere 300 men, he won the battle. Actually, God won the battle. All Gideon’s small band did was blow trumpets and break pitchers, revealing the torches hidden inside. When the enemy heard the trumpets and saw the torches blazing, they panicked and became easy picking for the Israelites.

Few of us would have designed such an unorthodox battle plan. It didn’t make sense to charge an inexperienced and terrified man with such a monumental task. However, God wasn’t asking for strength, boldness, or pedigree. He just wanted availability and trust.

Do you feel unimportant? So did Gideon. Do you lack confidence? So did Gideon. Do you have weak faith? So did Gideon.

How do you go from hiding out in a winepress to standing on a mountain with 300 men armed with torches and trumpets? How does the scared and helpless become bold and invincible?

The answer is simple: just be available to follow God’s plans when they don’t make sense. After all, the greatest ability is availability.

View the video message from December 10, 2017

Previous article in “Everyday Folks” series: “An Everyday Guy, but a Chosen King”

Next article in “Everyday Folks” series: “Just a Kid with a Lunch”

 

Comments

  1. I have always heard it said from the time I was just a youngster that God does not require ability, only availability. This week’s message shows me how true this is. Over the past few weeks, I realize I can add, willingness and trust. When we are willing to obey whatever God asks of us, we can trust He will give us the ability to do it.

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