Judges 6:11-27 “A Mighty Man of Valor”
Open your Bibles Please to Judges chapter 6. We are looking at the calling of Gideon this week. Last week we looked at How the Israelites cried out to God in their distress and His answer was to remind them who He is and what he had done for them. Now, I said that I believe that the majority of our disobedience in life can be traced back to forgetting who God is, and the best way to build faith for the future is to remember who he is and to recount what he has done. That is a great setup for this weeks message because it ties in very well with not just our obedience to God’s commands, but our obedience to His specific call on our individual lives.
So, let me ask you this: whose words have meant the most to your perception of who you are? This can be negative, or positive. Most of us will say that our parents’ words have meant a lot to us. Certainly at a young age, that it true. Then as you get older, your friends begin to have more influence on how you see yourself, and sometimes teachers, and later our spouses. For some of us those words were a source of courage and inspiration, and for others it was a source of discouragement and debilitation. Either way, the words of others in our lives are a powerful source of defining who we are, for better or for worse. Those words have power in our lives, because they come from a person who we in some way respect, or fear, or admire. We see ourselves through the words that are spoken about us, and often we are inclined to believe that those words are true. Furthermore, the longer we believe those words, the more difficult it is for us to believe that a contrary opinion is true, even if it is. We have all seen this in both positive and negative ways. My favorite example of this is the first few episodes of every American Idol season. When you see this people come in to audition for the judges, and they have been told their whole lives how wonderful they are and that they are beautiful singers walk in and can’t carry a tune in a bucket. That is the result of people having a false sense of their abilities and worth, and it is based on people speaking encouraging, but untrue words to them. They are absolutely convinced though, and many of them have built their worlds around the idea that they are going to be a star. The sad aspect of this happens much more when parents, or teachers will say something to a child that demeans them or gives them the idea that they are not good enough, and then they carry that with them for their lives. In either case, it is difficult for someone else to come along and change that perspective once that idea is cemented in their minds. The power of life and death are in the tongue. We know this to be true. The problem we have is that like the parents and friends of those American Idol contestants, we can say something encouraging, but it doesn’t make it true.
That is where one of the massive truths of scripture that we need to wrestle with and understand in order to live life as a believer comes into play. It is what we will see in this story and what we will see over and over again. The truth that we need to see in this text today is this: “When the God of the universe declares something about you, He will also make it true.” We as Christians need to fight to believe this truth every single day of our lives.
Let’s read the text and see where we see this truth in the text for today.
OK, so we learned last week that God’s people had once again done what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and that He had sold them into the hands of the Midianites. We also learned that the surrounding people would come and pillage their crops and livestock every so often leaving nothing behind. Well, they cried out for God to help them, so we know what’s coming next right, God is going to raise up a deliverer. His name is Gideon.
I mentioned this last week, but the state Gideon was in when God called him was pretty Pathetic. In fact, everything we read about Gideon in this story paints him out to be a pretty cowardly guy. in this story he is described as threshing wheat in a wine press. So, just so we don’t miss the point of this, he is doing something that is meant to be don’t on a hill, or a place with good wind, hidden down in a hole. This is an entirely unproductive way to thresh wheat! So, he is down in pit, usually dug out of rock, and he is probably covered in chaff, because there is no wind, and who should appear to him, but the Angel of the Lord. Now, this Angel appears a number of times in this book. now, most likely this is the pre-incarnate Christ appearing to Gideon. At any rate, he has come to speak on behalf of God. and He speaks, what I consider the most powerful words that anyone could speak to Him. He says “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of Valor!” The NIV says Mighty Warrior”.
Now, as I read this, it is almost an ironic statement because of the situation the Lord visits Gideon in. it can almost sound like he is mocking him, and yet He is also speaking truth about the future he has for Gideon.
Well, this exchange goes on and Gideon is skeptical because he say “what do you mean the Lord is with us, where are the great wonders that we have been told about by our father? Why are we oppressed and hiding from the Midianites? if God is with us, why are we in the shape we are in, where is God’s deliverance? At this point, Gideon has no idea that he is going to be part of one of God’s great deliverance stories. Then the Lord says to him, “go, in this mights of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian, this is me saving my people, and I am going to use you!”
At this point, Gideon informs the Lord what he believes to be true about his clan and himself. “I am in the weakest clan of Manassa and I am the weakest in my family.” Its almost as if he is saying, “Lord, before you get too far, let me tell you a little bit about myself, I am the runt of my household, and my household is the runt of Israel.” Thats when the Lord lets him in on the truth that echos throughout the whole Bible, “if God is with you, it does not matter how puny you are, he will accomplish His purpose.”
So then we get this really strange exchange between Gideon and the Lord. Gideon displays his skepticism again, which won’t be the last time by the way, and he asks the Lord for a sign. He says he wants to make the Lord a present. He wants to make some food for him. and he asks him to not leave until he is done, so the Angel of the Lord says, I will wait here. Then Gideon goes to his house and prepares a goat and some unleavened cakes and brings it back. Then the Lord told him to put it on a rock and pour the broth over it and then he touched it with the tip of the staff that was in his hand and fire sprang up out of the rock, consumed the food, and then He was gone. At that point Gideon is scared and thinks he is going to die because he has come face to face with the Lord. So the Lord speaks to him again and says “Peace to you, don’t worry, you will not die.” Then this scene closes with Gideon building an alter to the Lord and called it “the Lord is Peace”
Ok, so What are we to learn from this story?
- God loves to use the weak people in this world to display his power: Moses, David, Jesus.
- God is not dismayed by our lack of Faith: Jeremiah, Moses
- When God speaks something about you, those words take effect: What makes Gideon a mighty warrior, is not his abilities, or wisdom, but the fact that God is with him.
What does this mean for you?
1. Are you weak, are you the least of your family? God can, and will use you for his purpose.
2. Do you doubt that God can use you? That will not stop him from using you.
3. Has your Identity been defined by what others have said about you? Do you know what God has said about you?