At a recent convention, Fresno Pacific University’s president Dr. Joseph Jones said two crucial questions are being asked around the world. People are asking, “Is God really with us?” And at the exact same time God is asking, “Can I find one who is still faithful and loyal?”
In Judges 6 we see the same two questions being asked. Times are especially dark in the world and God goes on a mission asking and looking for one who remains faithful. God finds Gideon under an oak tree and quickly discovers Gideon asking the question so often asked today, “Is God really with us?” So many bad things had happened for so long that Gideon was struggling to believe what he had been taught as a child about a strong, loving God who cared for His children.
In short order the story details a litany of Gideon’s struggles and shortcomings: his faith is either dead or on life support, he was crippled by fear, he had a dismally low view of himself and his potential, he couldn’t admit God was at work even after he watched a series of remarkable miracles, and when he finally tried to take a step forward after the miracles, he still was only able to obey God halfway because fear still ruled in Gideon.
Surely in God’s careful search for one loyal hero remaining on earth he would need to pass by such a flawed character and continue his search! But God looked down on this mess of a man and said, “There’s my guy! That’s the one who will do great things for me!” What a surprising, encouraging story! We can relate to so many of Gideon’s struggles can’t we? Struggles to believe, full of fears, low thoughts of ourselves; just like Gideon!
But God sees what no one else sees and he chooses whom no one else would choose. After all of Gideon’s struggles the Bible describes how God provided Gideon with just what he needed to turn his life around. Judges 6:34 says God clothed Gideon in the Holy Spirit. And the very next line in the story says Gideon blew a mighty blast on his trumpet and rallied all the warriors around to come fight with him. What a transformation! Soon the formerly fearful, faithless one was leading an unarmed band of 300 into a heroic attack on the largest army any of them had ever seen!
What an encouraging story God has given us. Our shortcomings do not disqualify us from doing great and mighty things for God. In fact God seems to delight in using such flawed folks to become heroic for him.
Perhaps you are asking, “Is God really with us?” It may feel like your struggle to believe must surely disqualify you from becoming one God would chose to do great things for him. II Chronicles 16:9 says the eyes of the Lord roam to and fro looking to show himself strong on behalf of those who remain loyal to him.
God is still searching. God is still choosing those who don’t expect to be chosen. God is still showing himself strong, and transforming his chosen ones by clothing them in the Holy Spirit. And those unlikely folks are still doing heroic things in God’s Kingdom still today.
Think your shortcomings mean it’ll never be you? Welcome to Gideon’s Club.