Gideon – An Unworthy Hero

“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.  Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)

It can be depressing for God’s warriors to realize just how utterly weak they really are.  Living under the curse of sin, we constantly fail in our commitments and undertakings.  We repeatedly question and doubt God.  We daily fall into temptation and sin, displaying hypocrisy and hatred more than love and joy.  We try to stand in our own strength and take matters into our own hands, continually being shamed and humiliated by our own lack of faith and spiritual weaknesses.  At the end of the day, it’s hard to feel much like a hero of the faith.

But the good news is, you’re exactly the kind of hero that God is looking for.  He seems to have this thing for using the small, the weak, the flawed, and the “unlikely” to achieve great deeds for Him.  Gideon, one of the most renowned heroes of the faith in all the Bible, was no exception.  He initially rejects the Lord’s calling, using his own weakness as an excuse.  He accuses God of abandoning His people (not vice-versa) and blames Him for their present misery.  Even after the Lord clearly manifests Himself, Gideon demands multiple signs before he’ll believe (God goes the extra mile and gives Him a “bonus” sign the night before the attack).  To top it off, he tries to hide his worship of the true God by sacrificing to Him under the cover of darkness rather than in the sight of his fellow men.

Despite all his shortcomings, Gideon achieves spectacular things through God’s help.  One thing can certainly be said of Gideon: he knows his own unworthiness and isn’t afraid to declare it before God and men.  He gives God the credit for his success, and even gives away his own share of glory for the sake of keeping the peace among God’s people (Judges 8:1-3).  In his battle cry, it is the Lord who comes first, then Gideon: “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” (Judges 7:20).  He even rejects an opportunity to become Israel’s king, reminding the people that their salvation and honor rests with God alone: “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you.  The Lord will rule over you” (Judges 8:23).

Yes, God knows your weaknesses and failures even better than you yourself do, and yet in His mercy He still greets you in the same way as He greeted Gideon: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12).  Just as God whittled Gideon’s army of 32,000 men down to a measly 300 so that no one would doubt that it was God to whom the victory belonged; even so, God will display your weakness and unworthiness so that the world may know that you are saved by His perfection and not your own.

God is sending you today, only “in the strength you have” because His strength is more than sufficient for the task.  “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).  What an awesome God we serve who allows even spiritual wastrels like us to become mighty warriors and heroes of faith!

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” (Isaiah 40:29)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank and praise You for choosing me, an unworthy sinner, to be Your warrior and champion!  Guide and direct my paths, that all my actions will please and honor You.  Give me a humble heart, and use my weakness to bring glory to You and to the great victory You have achieved through Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen.