Judges 6:14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
This is a very powerful Scripture for those who, like Gideon, have their eyes fixed on themselves and their circumstances. The Lord said, through the angel, “Go in the strength you have.” From Gideon’s viewpoint, that was no strength at all! However, it’s the last part that is the clincher: “Am I not sending you?” As has been well said, where God guides, He provides. Often, perhaps even most of the time, we fail to recognize that provision, and either fail to act or do so with great anxiety and trepidation. That was certainly the case with Gideon. His story is justly famous, because God used him to demonstrate how He can do mighty things with next to nothing, humanly speaking, if those things are genuinely released to Him. I think God chose Gideon precisely because he had such a low self-image. That kept him from depending on himself, at least at this point. Sadly, later in his life he did make some major mistakes because his focus was not as it should have been, but that is a reminder that we must maintain humility before God all the way through, however much God has used us along the way. (Billy Graham is a good example here of how we need to be.) The thing is, if God is sending us, we had better get going! Often that will involve steps of preparation, and we must not draw back from those, but if we always wait until we are “ready,” we will never get anything done!
I have tended to be one of those who skipped the preparation steps and charged in unprepared, but as a pastor I deal fairly often with people who are very much like Gideon at the point of this verse. I have experienced God’s faithfulness so many times myself that I get very exasperated with people who can’t seem to believe that God could actually use them. That exasperation doesn’t accomplish anything good, either! I need to be firm, but I must be careful always to speak the truth in love, and not in anger. Their failures, though sad, are not on my record, unless I have failed to be obedient to the Lord toward them. I see so much potential all around me, and at times I want to cry out because of how little that potential is being utilized, but then I need to look at myself and let the Lord show me how I have failed to listen obediently, just as I see others are doing. I need to remember, just as I encourage others to do, that God’s plans for us are good, and so follow wholeheartedly, for His glory.
Father, You know who is on my heart as I write this. However, I have seen many in this situation, and I will doubtless see many more. Help me be the encouragement to them that they need, not condemning but not failing to admonish when it is called for. Help me follow through with what You show me to do as well, so that all of Your plans, not just for me personally but for all whom I impact, may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!