February 10 I Thursday
“The LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?’” —Judges 6:14
Before Gideon’s reign as judge over Israel, the people were worshipping handmade idols of pagan nations, and had again fallen out of favour with God. For seven years, the Israelites were brutally oppressed by the Midianites who ravished their land, plundering their herds and crops. Many were forced to hide out in mountain clefts, caves or strongholds they had built themselves. The people lived in constant fear, poverty and ridicule. But, as always, God hears their cries.
While Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites, an angel of the Lord appeared and said to him, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior” (Judges 6:12). Gideon was unimpressed. “If the LORD is with us, why has everything gone wrong?” he asked. It was a good question. “If the LORD is with us” was more than a dead statement in a dead creed, where was the evidence of God acting on their behalf?
The answer God gave was a surprising revelation to Gideon. The Lord said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand.” Whatever strength God was talking about, it was not something Gideon was to receive, but something he already had. Gideon asked the obvious question. “Pardon me, my Lord, but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judges 6:15). In other words, “What You are saying, God, does not make sense to me.”
The Lord answered Gideon, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive” (Judges 6:16). Although Gideon already knew God, he had not counted on Him and, by all appearances, had given up on human capability as well. This, however, is what makes the difference in the Christian life. Gideon was now to make a great discovery. God Himself was his strength, and the explanation that made perfect sense. Judges 6:34 says, “The Spirit of the LORD came on Gideon.” The ESV translation beautifully states that same verse as, “The Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon.” The Midianites were subdued and Israel enjoyed peace and prosperity for 40 years under Gideon’s reign.
The most profound discovery any Christian can make is that God living in us by His Holy Spirit is our strength. He does not give us strength, nor teach us ways of producing strength, but is Himself our strength. Once we grasp this principle our lives will no longer be about what we can do, but what God will do, and that is absolutely liberating!
Prayer: Dear Lord, knowing You are my strength is what gives me confidence, not only in what You call me to do, but in my everyday life. Thank You for indwelling me.