Third & Long

WRITTEN BY: RACHEL STONE

Have you ever experienced a time when it seemed all your efforts fell short and you have one last glimmer of hope to advance, but it will take tremendous courage and creativity to move forward? What did you do? What did you long for? Did you wonder “how in the world did I get in this circumstance?” Or, maybe you know exactly how you arrived there. Did you think you could get yourself out of it? Or did you know you needed help?

This week we take a look at Gideon, God’s unlikely choice to lead his people to victory. The setting: once again, God’s people had rebelled against God, rejected his word, and found themselves oppressed and surrounded by strong opposition. Their efforts and approach not only held them back, but also moved them in the wrong direction. In fact, they had to hide from their enemies.

This is where God met the leader he chose. God chose Gideon—the guy hiding from the Midianites as he threshed grain in a cave. Gideon who said, “You want me? I am weak, from the smallest and weakest family.”

Yes. Exactly. “Not only you, Gideon, but also just 300 men to descend upon the thousands of men preparing to invade your land again.” Um, are you serious?

Yes. God had a plan and God’s plan sounded foolhardy by human standards. But God had a purpose in this plan. God’s purpose: to demonstrate with clarity what only God can accomplish so that no man may boast. It is God who gives victory. And God did give victory to Gideon. 

So what do we learn from this? How does this help us when we are about out of hope and we think nothing short of a crazy plan will help?  

Here is what we learn:
God is in control. God has a plan. God raises up unlikely leaders, unprecedented tactics, and unexpected victory. God graciously hears his people when they cry out to him, even though they have rebelled, forgotten, and rejected him in the past. God’s victory might not look like the victory we expect. God is our strength.

We learn these things from Gideon’s story, but also see them fulfilled in Jesus. God sent Jesus, Immanuel “God with us”, to give us ultimate victory over death so that whoever believes in him will not die, but will have eternal life.

Remember, then, in seemingly insurmountable circumstances God is with you. In your weakness is your strength because God is your strength. Cry out to God. Kneel before God. Place all your cares at the feet of God. 

Then, expect unlikely, unprecedented, and unimaginable victory because God is a loving, gracious, and powerful God who sent Jesus to conquer death. God is a God who is always with us.

PRAYER

Gracious and loving God, you work in mysterious ways. You are all knowing, and your purposes will always be accomplished. We don’t understand, and we struggle sometimes when our circumstances are difficult and painful. We tend to approach these times in our own strength and fail to realize that our real strength is actually in our weakness, because only then do we realize and experience your unimaginable power. Thank you for loving us and for being patient with us. Help us to cry out to you, to lay our struggles at your feet, and to trust you to be with us and lead us in your path. Reveal to us your purposes and your loving presence and help us to rely on your strength and wisdom. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

RELATED SCRIPTURE

  • Judges 6 and 7

  • Psalm 9:10; 18:31-32; 28:6-8; 29:11; 46:1; 55:22

  • Isaiah 40:1-8, 25-31

  • Matthew 1:23

  • John 3:16

  • Romans 8:25-39

  • 1 Corinthians 1:18-31

  • 2 Corinthians 12:5-10

  • Ephesians 2:8-10

  • Hebrews 4:14-16

  • 1 Peter 5:6-7