In yesterday's Devotional we said that Gideon had hit bottom and that the bottom was all he could see. For Gideon, God is absent, he no longer intervenes, and he is the cause of their calamity. We also said the words of the angel of the Lord, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you" bring a change point that allows Gideon to begin his ascent up from the "bottom." Something happens within Gideon when he hears these words and before he responds the way he does in our Judges passage for today that follows shortly.
We know that it is the angel of Lord who is with Gideon because we are told so. But, Gideon doesn't know this. It's not until verse 22 that we are told that "Gideon saw that he was the angel of the Lord." So, at the point we find ourselves in the story, Gideon is not clear on who stands before him, but he is beginning to see that the words being spoken to him are from God. It is the words, "I am sending you" that help us see that this is what is happening within Gideon. Gideon hears these words as words from God himself and so his ascent from the bottom begins.
Gideon hearing the words he hears (Judges 6:14) as a blend of the voice of the one who stands before him and the voice of God is hard to grasp and would require a study of its own in order to give an adequate explanation. But there is no doubt the blend is there. There is also a blend involved in Gideon's response. When Gideon responded to the first words (Judges 6:12) the angel of the Lord spoke to him, Gideon responded to him alone. But in our passage for today, Gideon is responding to both the one who stands before him and God himself.
“But Lord,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The Lord said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” Judges 6:15-16
Gideon's words are spoken out loud for the one who stands before him to hear but they are directed to God himself. This is so significant. Gideon is speaking to God as if he were present. He has moved beyond speaking about God and voicing his perception that God had abandoned them and handed them over to the Midianites. Gideon has moved to speaking to God who is present. Yes, he takes exception with the plan God has for delivering them from the Midianites, but in connecting with God and interacting with him, he is at at least in a spot that will allow God to help him continue his upward ascent.
Gideon, in essence, is saying to God, "Why me? I am nobody. How can I possibly rescue Israel." God is now going to take Gideon through a process that will help him ascend further and further upward until he becomes the one God does use to rescue Israel. This process of Gideon being helped by God to become this person, begins with words Gideon hears from God himself, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.”
What a startling turning of the tables when we consider that Gideon had been at the very "bottom." He is now poised to go through the "open door" God has placed before him and become the "Mighty hero" God will use to rescue Israel from the Midianites. What about a "turning of the tables" for you. Are you still so caught up in your calamity and so at the bottom, that you are not at all aware of God and his "open doors" of intervention and provision? Are you willing to reaffirm that God is always present, always intervening with open doors, and never causes your calamities?
Perhaps you are on speaking terms with God and are wrestling with an "open door" he has before you because of a strong sense of personal fear and inadequacy. God's promise to Gideon is a promise to you, "I will be with you." Allow God's presence to become more real to you than what you anticipate lies in store for you beyond the open door, and he will take away your sense of personal fear and inadequacy. God is waiting to take you on the journey of upward ascent toward becoming a "Mighty hero" who walks with him in the strength of his mighty presence and is able to go through all the open doors he places before you.
Lord, thank you that you never give up on me. I am grateful that you are always at work even when I am not aware of it. I see that the work you are doing for me right now is a work of helping me ascend upward toward being one who knows your presence, hears your voice, and trusts in you completely with the troubles of my life and for taking me through open doors of intervention and provision. Here I am, Lord. I surrender! Amen!
Posted on Thu, August 6, 2015
by Alan Porter