The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many warriors with you. If I let all of you fight the Midianites, the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength.” (Judges 7:2 NLT)
Last time we saw that when God wanted to save His people He chose a man who was actually hiding from the enemy! God’s estimation of Gideon was quite different from his own. Gideon saw himself as less than the least of his people, but God called him “a mighty man of valor.”
When God works He does it for His own name’s sake that He might make known His power (Psalm 106:8). He chooses a person whom He considers to be right for the job. Whereas man looks at the outside, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). He is not looking for someone who will advance his own agenda, nor is He looking for someone who will take the credit for what He has done. God looks for someone who will simply be a vessel that He can use for His glory.
On the one hand, it is admirable to seek to be a person of strength and courage–a warrior for the cause. We need such capable leaders! But on the other hand, the person who thinks that he knows something doesn’t know as he ought to know (1 Corinthians 8:2). Rare are those individuals who have the character to lead well and yet who will give credit where credit is due.
God had found Gideon to be such a man, but there were too many warriors with him who were all too willing to boast in the victory they had accomplished. When it came time for battle, the Midianites were joined by the Amalekites–together they numbered 135,000. At first, Israel’s army numbered 32,000. But then God said that anyone who was afraid could go home and 22,000 troops left. Now there were only 10,000! But from God’s perspective that was still too many. God separated them again and brought them down to 300! God wanted it to be absolutely obvious to everyone that He was responsible for the victory. But here’s the clincher: Gideon’s army was actually stronger at 300 with God than they ever would have been at 32,000 without God. Compared to 32,000 (and certainly to 135,000) an army of 300 was weak. But God literally weakened them in order to make them strong.
Perhaps God has been taking you through such a weakening process. All of your efforts have ended in dismal failure. Your resources are spent, your health is weak, your numbers have decreased, or you’ve lost the faith and fire that you once had. Maybe this is God’s method for weakening you in yourself, so that you may be strong in Him. Could it be that He has a much greater work in mind for you than you would ever think possible? But He must bring you to the point of utter despair in yourself so that He may show you His strength. Try committing your weakness to His Almighty hand and see what happens!
It fascinates me that the one thing we think disqualifies us may be the means of prevailing with God. His power is perfected through our weakness.
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