Summary: God uses people even if we do not think they are capable, and He uses anyone no matter who they are and where they are from.
The Book of Joshua represents an emotional high for the nation of Israel, as God’s people conquered Canaan and took possession of the Promised Land. Conversely, the Book of Judges is a huge let down, as the Israelites’ reliance on God falters and opposing nations begin to torment them. Even then, God was gracious, sending 13 judges to galvanize Israel and fight back against its many foes. One of them was Gideon, an unlikely choice for a hero. But God used him to make a difference and turn Israel back toward God. Gideon is also a picture of how God can use us to change the world today.
1. God uses people who are humble. We tend to imagine that God uses the talented, the superstars, and the beautiful people to do His work. But truly, He is looking for ordinary people, ones who see themselves for who they are. That way, God can do the extraordinary through them, just as He did with Gideon. We see who we are, but God sees what we can be.
2. God uses people who are faithful in the little things. Before Gideon could take on the Midianites, God asked him to do something smaller—destroy his father’s idol and altar to Baal, build an altar to God and offer a burnt sacrifice. Some people want to cross the ocean to be a missionary, but God might be calling you to simply cross the street and share with a neighbour. He might be calling you to serve at church in the children’s ministry or parking lot ministry. Jesus said that if you are not faithful in the small things, He will not entrust you with the large things (see Luke 16:10).
Why did God take Gideon’s army of 10,000 and trim it down to 300? One reason is that He wanted to make it clear that this was His victory and not something that Gideon accomplished. Secondly, He did it to find the truly committed, leaving behind the scared and the half-hearted. God has not called us to an easy life as believers. Being a Christian is difficult, even in the best of circumstances. But God can do more with 300 committed believers than He can with 10,000 wishy-washy people. He is looking for those who are faithful, obedient servants, willing to change the world.
In the Book of Acts, Paul and Silas’ ministry was described in this way: “They turned the rest of the world upside down and they are disturbing our city.” May God help us to disturb our world, our homes, and our neighbourhoods? Not in an obnoxious way. Not in an irritating or unnecessarily offensive way. But in a godly way where they can see how God has changed your life. It is time to step out and be a true follower of Jesus Christ.