By Ryan Shaw
The account of Gideon in the book of Judges is a prophetic picture of what every generation must contend with in order to enter into the purpose of God. His entire story takes place from Judges 6 – 8:35.
In the context of the book of Judges, Israel was consistently repeating six stages of a horrendous cycle. The cycle progressed step by step:
• It started with God’s people following hard after God
• Over time they became spiritually lazy & complacent
• Next they started worshiping idols
• God then intervened to bring a form of judgment to draw them back to Himself
• They then cry out to God to help them
• Finally God raises up a deliverer to overcome their oppressors
Gideon’s story takes place as Israel is in the last phase. God is raising up a deliverer to overcome the dreaded Midianites whom He had used to awaken the people from their sin & idolatry.
An angel of the Lord visits Gideon and praises him with high esteem. “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12) God calls forth Gideon’s destiny as a warrior for God’s Kingdom, stamping this revelation on the core of Gideon’s being.
Most of us live a majority of our lives under the lie that God is mad at us or somehow not happy with us. We have come to believe we are not good enough, attractive enough, talented enough, anointed enough or powerful enough to be pleasing to God.
At this point in the story, there was no reason for God to have spoken these words of praise to Gideon. Gideon hadn’t done anything. Instead God was affirming who Gideon was apart from what he might do.
The angel’s words to Gideon are God’s words to the core of every believer’s being. Though we may feel inadequate, weak, broken and unusable, the Lord says “you are a man/woman of valor.”
Like Gideon we have been stamped as spiritual warriors for God’s kingdom. We need to regain this essence of our identity based on how God sees us and not how we see ourselves.
Each of us is the beloved of God. We are the apple of His eye, His favored one and treasured possession. We know theologically that God loves us but most times we aren’t really convinced He likes us. Our outlooks about ourselves often fail to reflect the truth.
God then commissions Gideon for His mission as deliverer (vs.14). “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”
Today, God’s church is equally “sent” as His ambassadors – His sent ones; His message bearers to communicate the way of salvation among those outside of a culturally relevant, Spirit-empowered hearing of it. It is a mandate given corporately (Matthew 28:18-21), not just to one individual as with Gideon.
God’s question to Gideon is His same question to us, “Have I not sent you?” In essence He is saying, “I have given you all you need, made available all My authority, promised you My powerful presence. Isn’t this enough?”