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.
One of the covenant children in my church is a sweet little girl who has Down Syndrome. Recently, Vera burst into the fellowship hall where I was talking to her grandmother. She tugged at grandma to get her attention so that she could share what she had just learned in Sunday school.
Vera had a coloring sheet showing two groups of men in long robes. One group had sad faces and she explained that these men did not know Jesus. The other group was smiling. Vera enthusiastically announced that these men knew Jesus and she did too. She just had to share the good news she had learned from her Sunday school teacher.
A Simple, Child-Like Faith
My church is also blessed to have gifted teaching elders who lead our adult Sunday school. Each week we have well prepared, insightful, and challenging lessons. On this particular week, we were studying the Heidelberg Catechism, working through the answer to Question 60: “How are you right with God?” We spent our time learning the differences between Augustine’s and Pelagius’ views on our sinful nature vs. free will, understanding the reformer’s perspective on the Roman Catholic’s view of synergism, and wresting with how it is we can be expected to live according to the law when we don’t have the ability to do so. It was a heavy session that stretched us, maturing our thinking on the subject.
After listening to little Vera share what she had learned in Sunday school, I could not help but think how right she was with God…