About 3000 years ago, the Israelites had been ignoring God, going their own way, doing their own thing, when the Lord raised up leaders to judge and rule and demonstrate obedience to God and His ways. One such judge was Gideon. But he was not what you may have expected. He had every excuse in the book and lacked self-confidence. Even after all-powerful God had singled Gideon out to be the one to lead Israel with the sobriquet, "mighty warrior," Gideon expressed major doubts about his abilities. God lets Gideon know first off "The Lord is with you" in verse 12 of Judges 6. When I hear that statement I get encouraged, but Gideon apparently did not. Many times when we attempt new things we want someone with us. Someone to encourage us, strengthen our resolve, help us make it happen, get through whatever it is we are facing. Here, God Almighty gives Gideon these words of encouragement that He is with Gideon. We, too, can have these Words encourage us. When we are spending time with God, being intimate with His Word, Praying, allowing His Spirit to lead and guide us, we will hear from God and His promises: "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV) or "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD." (Psalm 31:24 NIV) or "...be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." (Ephesians 6:10 NIV). His Words, His "voice", His Scripture is there for us and is "for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." Let us pray and heed the lesson that when God tells us He is with us we will acknowledge His presence and His words of encouragement not doubt.
Similar to his forefather Moses who used the excuse that he was not good at public speaking, Gideon claims "my clan is the weakest" and "I am the least " in his excuse to Almighty God. These statements demonstrate Gideon's lack of confidence and not humility. How many times do we self-disqualify ourselves with these types of words? Are we letting our past get in the way of our today? Take heart brothers and sisters, "forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13,14 NIV) The truth is if we are trusting in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and we acknowledge that He is God, we are now called His children! We do not need excuses like Gideon or even Moses used.
And finally God sent Gideon out with the affirmative, "Go in strength." What words of encouragement. What a way to uplift and motivate. But God was not telling Gideon to go forward in his own strength but rather go in God's strength - wow. Even better. Isaiah 40:31 is a powerful promise, "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.."