Israel was in a mess. Defying God again, they were being oppressed by the Midianites, Amalekites and others who raided at harvest time looting and destroying any crops they had grown. After 7 years they were starving, living in caves out of fear of the marauders, and utterly desperate. Finally they called out to God.
Read Judges 6.11-24
What strikes you?
Application to your circumstances
Action to take?
Gideon was a bitter young man. He was angry with God for what he considered to be a betrayal of his people, Insecure about his family back ground, and totally sceptical that he was the kind of person who could do anything to change the situation. He responded with incredulity at God’s greeting of ‘The Lord is with you mighty warrior’. As far as he could see God was NOT with him and he was far from being any kind of warrior, never mind a mighty one!
However, God saw Gideon’s potential. What he could be, not what he currently was. Even though Gideon didn’t trust God, or believe in himself, God knew better. He took Gideon on a journey (Jdg 6,7,8) to prove his faithfulness and to show Gideon what he was capable of in partnership with him. All Gideon needed was the courage to believe and to follow – fortunately for Israel he had both.
Many of us doubt ourselves, doubt that God could use us, doubt that we are good enough, strong enough, wise or godly enough. However God sees beyond the now into what we could be and wants to take us on that journey – if we are willing to follow. It starts with small steps, being realistic about ourselves – not thinking that we are great or useless. If we are made in his image and have his spirit in us what an insult it is to tell God we are useless – we are telling him that his spirit in us is useless too!
We are sinful, we mess up, but some of us need to start believing the things others tell us about our good qualities. Or start believing what the Bible says about our value. Jesus didn’t die so we could believe Satan’s lies indefinitely. Let’s follow Gideon’s example and be willing to start on the journey towards the potential God has put in us, and let’s spur each other on – speaking words of potential and encouragement, as God did with Gideon.
© Ruth Perrin 2008. Last revised on 1 December 2008
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Cloud of Witnesses is a series of Bible studies on the men and women of scripture. You'll find everyone from Gideon and Andrew through to Tamar and Tabitha.
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Ruth Perrin, the author, is on staff at King's Church Durham and holds an MA in Theology and Ministry.
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