The Mighty One
I grew up in the era when Superman was a big deal. In the 1978 cimatic version of this comic book hero, his father, Jor-El, speaks words of destiny over him: 'In time, you will help them accomplish wonders'. We expect Superman to accomplish wonders, and we expect heros in Bible to do great things. But not oursevles.
It's difficult to believe what God says about us - especially when our personal experience points the opposite direction. This is the challenge facing Gideon as we pick up his story in the book of Judges.
The context for God's intervention, described in Judges 6:1-6, is that the people of Israel entered into another sad but predictable pattern, the one repeated over and over in Judges: after a period of prosperity, they turned away from God and began worshipping idols, after which God allowed them to be dominated by the neighbors, which prompted a cry to God, who raised up a valliant but imperfect hero who led them to victory and gave them peace and prosperity. And then the entire cycle gets repeated.
God uses Gideon to accomplish one of these great victories by reducing his numbers to a level that victory would require divine intervention (Judges 7:2-8). What I'd like us to notice, however, is how God engaged Gideon at the beginning: In Judges 6:12, this is what the the Lord spoke to the young man:
The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valour.
That's a remarkable statement. Gideon, a small-time farmer hiding from the invading horde of Midianites, is, in God's perspective, a valiant warrior. Gideon, however, isn't convinced and has two relevant questions:
- If the Lord is with us, why then why are all these Midianites running around, dominating us?
- If the Lord is with us, where are all the miracles we heard about from our fathers?
We can be just like Gideon: we judge the veracity of God's word to us based on what we see around us. God, rather, calls us to believe what he says about us even when events in our lives seem at odds with his Word to us.
The Big Idea
God deals with us on the basis of his destiny for our lives, not our current circumstances. God speaks to us on the basis of what He is making us into, not what we currently are.
The Action Point
How do we respond to this? Simply, we dare to believe what God says about us. In Romans 6:5, Paul tells us that we are dead to sin and alive to God. This is a spiritual reality for those who have believed the gospel and turned to follow Christ.
Another example is 1 John 4:4:
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
We have overcome the world - the value system that dominates this age, marked by power and pleasure - because the Greater One lives in us. This isn't a hope; this is our reality.
We are continualy being seduced by the song of power and pleasure playing all around us. The narrative of this age continually tries to define us, writing a story without God, crafting a character that reflects the values of power and pleasure and not the destiny God has created for us.
As we follow Jesusk our perpetual challenge is to believe what God says about us. Like Gideon, God looks at us and says, 'The Lord is with you, valiant one'. If we dare to believe what God says about us, we will become the people God created us to be and fulfil the destiny God intends for us.