You Really Can't

May 31, 2017

The poster boy for insecurity is found in the book of Judges; there we find Gideon.  Judges tells us that Israel had lived a continuing cycle, first they served God, then they lived without God, so God gave them into the oppression of their neighbors.  They would cry out to God and he would send a deliverer.  The cycle had been repeated several times.  He had sent Othniel, Ehud, Shamgar, and Deborah.  Each one overpowered their enemies and delivered Israel by relying on God.  Then the Midianites invaded and their oppression was so severe that Israel sought shelter away from the villages and towns, so that they could hide from their oppressors.  When Israel was finally impoverished enough, they cried out to God and he called Gideon to deliver them.  The angel of the Lord spoke to Gideon and said "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior."  I have never had an angel speak to me, but scripturally, when a angel comes, it is pretty obvious that it is an angel. Usually the encounter causes fear in the recipient.  But not Gideon.  Maybe because he was already deeply entrenched in fear since he was hiding his work of threshing wheat is a place that you never threshed wheat, to keep it from the Midianites.  He didn't fear the angel, instead he questioned the angel's message.  "How can the Lord be with us?"  was Gideon's response.  "Where are all the wonders that our fathers told us about..."  Gideon completely discounted the message because of what he saw.  While God was trying to get Gideon to do wonders, Gideon only had eyes for the terrible circumstances.  So God said, "go in the strength you have and save Israel...Am I not sending you?"  Gideon's reply was full of his insecurity "how can I save Israel?", "my clan is the weakest," and "I am the least in my family."  He was saying "I cannot do it because I don't have the right lineage, influence, or even birthright."  God had said "The Lord is with you" and "Am I not sending you," but Gideon was still unconvinced.  He wanted a confirming sign, so God gave him one and then said "Do not be afraid."  When God asked Gideon to tear down an altar to Baal and build one for God, Gideon did it at night because "he was afraid of his family and the men of the town."  Even after all of this, Gideon still wanted a sign that God would do as was promised and God answered, twice.  Gideon was so insecure because he weighed the possibilities only according to his own abilities.  How often are we like Gideon?  "I can't because...I don't have the right talent; I don't know the right people;  I don't have enough money; I don't have the education; I...I...I."   So focused on our inabilities that we fail to even notice that it is the God of the universe who has called us to accomplish his purpose by his power.  

God, however, is gracious, to Gideon and to us.  He answers every argument and confirms for us even when we should simply take his word for it.  He knows we are not strong. He knows what we lack.  He knows all of our inabilities.   He knows our doubts and insecurities and he chooses to use us anyway.  Why?  Because he is the most honored when his power is the most obvious.  Not that God does not use people with great strengths and abilities, he does.  But he delights in using the most questionable vessels because then God's involvement is the most apparent.  God delivered Israel through Gideon by asking Gideon to take into battle an insignificant amount of men and using weapons that no one would ever use, jars and trumpets.  Why?  So that Gideon, Israel, and we could learn to rely completely on him and not any strength or weakness in our lives.  The God of the Insecure wants us to realize how empty and powerless we really are, so what we might put our complete trust in him.

 

 

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