Small but Mighty: God’s Work in the Life of Gideon and In Us

MISSY GRANT|GUEST

Have you ever considered yourself small, weak, and insufficient? In our human eyes, we often view our smallness as negative and limiting, but if we look closely, we see that our God-given limits can be the means for us to grow in our faith and dependence upon God.

In the book of Judges, Gideon referred to himself as the “least” in his family. Gideon might have felt small, but God referred to him as a “mighty warrior” and he is listed alongside other men and women of faith in Hebrews 11.

God’s Work Through Gideon

In Judges 6-8, consider the following scene: Fearing the Midianites, Gideon is afraid to winnow his wheat out in the open air, where the breeze catches the grain and separates it from the chaff. He is afraid of doing that and becoming too visible to enemy eyes. As a result, we find Gideon crouching down, trying to thresh his wheat in the pit of a winepress.

Suddenly an angel speaks to him. I imagine this encounter probably made him jump out of his skin! Gideon referred to himself as “the least” likely, which meant that Gideon was economically and/or socially one of the poorest members in his tribe. Judges paints a picture of Gideon as shy and reserved. He also seems quite unassertive in the way he asks God to show him some unusual signals and signs. In his book Judges for You, Tim Keller expands our thinking with a different perspective. He believes Gideon’s response came from an earnest, humble heart seeking God’s direction. Keller sees Gideon teaching us how we need to press in and ask God to give us a big picture of who He is.[1]

Living in our time period, we have the edge over Gideon of knowing Jesus, as He reveals Himself to us in His Word. However, in Gideon’s day, God spoke through the prophets and other means. Maybe you too, have been through (past or present) some “Gideon-like” moments where you doubted God’s presence or His promises. In these times, we plead with the Lord, “I want to believe Lord; please help my unbelief.” Ultimately, this is what Gideon needed, and what we need. We see God rescue his people in their unfaithfulness (once again!) and turn Gideon into the mighty warrior He called him to be in verse 6:12. According to Keller, God was probably prompting Gideon to utilize his God-given gifts by reminding him of His power in Gideon’s life. In verse 14, God tells him to be strong in the confidence that God was not only with him but was also sending him. Thus, Gideon’s recipe for success is the same as ours: God’s indwelling and calling align with our God-given strengths to assure us of victory. What God calls us to do, he enables us to do through the power of his Spirit at work in us.

If we were to read further in Judges, we’d see how quickly Gideon’s confidence in God turns into overconfidence and pride in himself. He soon forgot God’s hand and convinced himself that he “needed” to receive honor and esteem for the miracles that had been performed by God. Like Gideon, how quickly do we forget all that our God has done and will continue to do?! Yet we can see in the life of Gideon, how both strengths and weaknesses can point us to Christ.

The True King

Christ is the true King. He came not to be served, but to serve. He came to conquer sin and death. And he did so in perfect righteousness. Christ faced the greatest battle and biggest enemy—sin—and conquered it through a seemingly weak way: The cross. What a beautiful picture of how God works! As Paul wrote, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18). The gospel seems like foolishness to the world, but to us, it is life. This is also how he works in us. God chooses the weak and insignificant, the lost and sinful, and transforms them through the work of his Spirit.

Let us also be wary and watchful of our own hearts, being ever mindful of our complete dependence upon Christ. If we forget that we are sinful, we can become overconfident, prideful, and even judgmental.  We can start to trust in ourselves and our own strength, rather than God at work in us. If, on the other hand, we forget how accepted and loved we are in Christ, we will become anxious, guilt-ridden, and small. We may fear walking forward in our calling. We have to remember that just as God helped Gideon in his unbelief, He will also help us when we cry out to Him for help.

Life is filled with battles, both within and without. The good news is that Christ has been victorious. He is our conquering King. As we humbly serve him—despite our weakness—whatever lies before us is insignificant because of WHO resides within us.

 

[1] See this book review on Judges for You: http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2013/08/21/judges-for-you-by-timothy-keller/

About the Author:

Missy Grant

Missy Grant, wife of 20 years, adoptive mom of two amazing children from Costa Rica, and author of the newly released devotional OUR WAITING IS GOD’S WORKING and TRAILS FOR TICOS, “stumbled upon” a love of writing in her passionate response to the Lord’s heart for adoption. Missy advocates for vulnerable children and their families in a variety of ways through missions and through Christ our Hope PCA Church in Wake Forest, NC. Missy also teaches and owns  a Pilates studio, where she encourages and instructs a variety of fitness classes. When she is not spending time with her family, writing, or training others, she is likely to be found mountain biking or running trails with their dog Reo.

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