Questions & Answers
We don’t know much about Gideon before God calls him to lead Israel in defeat of the Midianites, but how God treats him in their first interaction and in the ones that follow (see Judges 6-8) tells us a lot about him. He doubted God and lacked confidence, but he was willing to do what God asked of him.
When God called Gideon to conquer the Midianites, Gideon’s first response was to question God by asking “Why?” and “How?”
“Pardon me, my lord, but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian… Pardon me, my lord, but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” (Judges 6:13, 15)
His questions addressed his feelings toward God (i.e., abandonment) and about himself (i.e., weak and less than others). God’s response in both cases is not a direct answer. After all, knowing why and how often does not result in the necessary confidence to move forward. Instead, God gives Gideon what will motivate him to take action: reassurance and direction.
“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?… I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” (Judges 6:14, 16)
Can you relate to Gideon? Do you also struggle with confidence? Do you sometimes feel like others are more qualified than you? Do you ever feel like God has abandoned you?
God’s Strength & Presence
Like he did with Gideon, God meets you where you are. When he asks you to do something, he promises his strength and his presence. The promise of God’s strength and presence is found throughout the Bible. It’s a promise he not only wants us to be aware of but one he wants us to let motivate us to action.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 16:1)
As with Gideon, God’s strength and presence is all you need to accomplish what he sends you to do.
Go With the Strength You Have
When God calls us, we may feel like we don’t have enough strength to do what he asks of us. We may feel like others are far more qualified. Like Gideon, though, we are to move forward with the strength we have regardless of how we feel. We do that by seeking God, like Gideon did when he asked his questions, and by trusting in his presence.
“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually.” (Psalm 105:4; 1 Chronicles 16:11)
The rest of Gideon’s story shows a growing confidence as God fulfills the promise of his power and presence. It also illustrates God’s willingness to meet us where we are and to give us courage to do what he asks of us.