December 13, 2018

Unlikely Heroes

Judges 6:1-14

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

—  Judges 6:12

In this story, Gideon goes on to become a successful military leader (see Judges 7). But that’s surprising when we consider how the story begins.

The angel of the Lord greets Gideon with the words, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” But where is Gideon when the angel greets him? Polishing his armor? Mustering the troops? No. He’s threshing grain in a winepress, hiding out from marauding Midianites, who are a constant threat to the Israelites at that time. So Gideon is not acting like a mighty warrior but more like a coward.

Repeatedly we see Gideon as timid and uncertain, but we should not be too hard on him. His anxiety and hesitation simply highlight the fact that God is setting him up with impossible odds. By using Gideon and just a small army, even though many thousands of soldiers were available (Judges 7:3, 8), God is teaching his people that the battle belongs to the Lord. When Gideon and his men finally enter the Midianite camp at night, smashing clay jars, carrying torches, and blowing trumpets, God himself routs the enemies of Israel.

Weak men and fragile jars point to the coming of the Lord and Savior as a helpless, human baby. The battle belongs to the Lord.

By ourselves we are like clay jars, Lord, and only in you, Jesus, can we become mighty warriors of your kingdom. Frail though we are, please use us for the coming of your kingdom and your glory. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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