Summary: Gideon was an unlikely candidate to lead Israel against the Midianites, but God often uses the weak and inadequate. Our service to Him is not dependent upon our wisdom or ability, but it must rely on the Lord through faith.
Overcoming our Reluctance
Judges 6: 11-16
Living the Christian life isn’t always easy. In fact, we are often forced to deal with difficulties and struggles. At times we surrender to defeat and feel as if we lack the ability to overcome. I am sure we have all dealt with moments of insecurity, while lacking the faith necessary to continue. The enemy loves for us to live in fear and uncertainty. While we are immobilized with fear, we are accomplishing little for the cause of Christ. However, the Lord desires us to live victorious lives in Him. We can overcome in Christ. We are more than conquerors in Him.
Our text reveals desperate and difficult days for the people of God. They were living in the Promised Land, but had strayed from the Lord and forsaken Him. In an act of divine chastisement, God had allowed the Midianites to overtake Israel and the people suffered under their heavy hand. Often in times of difficulty God will raise up one to lead His people out of bondage and into victory. Gideon was an unlikely candidate, but God chose to use him. Often the Lord uses the weak and inadequate to accomplish His will.
We find ourselves in desperate days, but God is looking for those who will stand for Him despite the difficulties of our day. This will require a strong faith and sacrifice on our part, but it can be done. Gideon wouldn’t have been chosen by his peers to lead this charge; but they hadn’t called, God had! We may think that we’re unable, but God can empower us to overcome.
As we begin this series dealing with Conquerors, I want to consider the factors in Gideon’s life that eventually resulted in victory as we think on: Overcoming our Reluctance.
I. The Anxiety of Gideon – As we consider the life of Gideon, we discover that he lacked confidence and was filled with anxiety. We too must learn to overcome our anxiety as we trust the Lord to do the impossible in our lives. Consider:
A. Gideon’s Activity (11) – And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abi-ezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. Typically in that day wheat was thrashed on the threshing floor, a place set aside near the field of harvest using oxen to tread out the grain. It is noble that Gideon is working in the harvest at all, but he has been overcome with fear. He isn’t using all that is available to him to ensure the harvest. He has brought a small portion of the wheat to the winepress and is working in secret, hidden from the Midianites.
Sadly this is the case for many believers today. We have abandoned the harvest, content with a little work around the church, hidden from the world. We have found this is much easier. As long as the world isn’t aware of what we are doing, we don’t have to take a stand for the field. We have grown complacent with the little that is being done. We may see a little grain brought in to the storehouse, but much of the harvest remains in the field. You will likely be attacked while working in the field, but we must labor for the harvest. I’m glad someone endured the difficulties to labor for my soul!
B. Gideon’s Apprehension (13) – And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. Upon hearing the call of God Gideon begins to question whether it is a worthy task. He complains about the situation Israel is facing. If God hasn’t forsaken us, why has all of this come upon us? Why hasn’t God performed a mighty miracle and taken care of the Midianites? Gideon seems resigned to the fact that the suffering they face will never improve; this must be God’s will for our lives. He has decided to accept things as they are.
Satan would have us believe that God has abandoned us. He wants us to believe our efforts will make no difference. God is sovereign and He can do all things, but He desires us to be workers in the harvest. We cannot assume that things will never be any better.
If you and I aren’t willing to stand for the Lord and try to make a difference, who will? I can tell you that it isn’t God’s will for men to die lost. He came for whosoever will. He wants none to perish. Man has brought much upon himself, but that isn’t what the Lord desires. There is hope as long as we live in the day of grace.