Yesterday we left our lovely little hotel in Tiberius on the Sea of Galilee and drove South toward the Dead Sea.
Among the highlights of the day were stops at Jezerel, the site of Ahab’s palace and Naboth’s vineyard. Jericho, the first city conquered by Joshua during the conquest of Canaan and billed as the world’s oldest city. Seeing the traditional site of Jesus’ baptism. And ending the day by floating on the Dead (Salt) Sea.
However, one stop especially stood out in my mind–visiting Harod Spring where God had Gideon reduce his army down from 22,000 to 10,000 and eventually 300 men to fight against the Midianites (Josh. 6-7).
“And the Lord said to Gideon, “Everyone who laps from the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set apart by himself; likewise everyone who gets down on his knees to drink.” And the number of those who lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people got down on their knees to drink water” (Jud. 7:5-6).
We visited that very spring, where we either waded, walked, drank or just cupped our hands in that water. And I was reminded how much I like Gideon.
He was a farmer who enjoyed farming. He had no political ambitions. No leadership aspirations. No dreams of greatness. He was not from a high social class. He was the youngest of his family. And just trying to make a living.
But God had different plans for Gideon.
Israel had turned their back on God. Again. The Midianites had dominated Israel, ravaged the land, and left the people impoverished. Gideon wondered, “If the Lord is with us, why is this happening to us?”
When God called Gideon to lead Israel against the foe, he didn’t think he was the man for the job. But God knew Gideon better than he knew himself. He said, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” But Gideon didn’t feel mighty. Or like a man of valor. In fact, the text reveals that he felt defeated. Discouraged. And doubting.
But after God confirmed his presence and his power in a miraculous manner, Gideon’s faith began to grow. He torn down the altar of Baal. Built an altar to God. Obeyed the voice of God. And ultimately led Israel to an incredible victory over a superior enemy.
I like Gideon because he’s an inspiration to the common man. To me. And to you. His success was not because of any inherent greatness on his part, but due to God’s greatness, power and presence.
Gideon reminds us that God has a purpose for our lives. That we can be used by God to glorify Him in ways we never imagined and for opportunities that we never believed were possible for us.
Whether you are a farmer or a pharmacist. A factory worker or a physician. A truck driver or a teacher. God can use you. In a position you may never have dreamed of occupying.
There is a potential within all of us to achieve something special for God. We may not see it. But God does. We need to be willing to be used by God. Changed for God. And to get out of our comfort zone for God.
Like Gideon, we may look at the world around us and wonder, “Where is God?” “What is He doing?” “Why am I suffering?” “And why is evil abounding?”
Yet, it may that God wants to use you too in some unique way to make a difference. To stand for truth. To stand against the enemy. And to stand up for God. To make an impact in your little corner of the world.
Do you have the attitude, the commitment, the patience, the will and the desire to work through the process? To know His purpose for you? Are you, like Gideon, willing to be used by God?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman