We’ve been reflecting on the story of Gideon at our church, lately. You may remember him from chapters six and seven in the Book of Judges.
The Israelites are under constant attack from Midianite camel raiders. Land and livestock destroyed and stolen. Poverty looming.
God’s messenger comes to Gideon and says, “The Lord is with you mighty warrior.” Gideon is full of doubts and questions about this, given how he sees himself and the situation around him.
I wonder how you are feeling as we approach this Easter.
We long to see the promise of the resurrection break through, and yet all around us, we continue to deal with the effects of the pandemic, agonise over the war in Ukraine as we stand in prayer with our friends there, as well as face personal situations of trouble or tragedy.
We can easily feel overwhelmed and inadequate.
But the good news of the story of Gideon is that God has a plan for moments just like these.
When Gideon raises an army of tens of thousands, God whittles it down to just 300. God says to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands or Israel would boast against me: ‘My own strength has saved me.'”
The 300 then rout the Midianites with well-timed scare tactics instead of a bloodbath.
And it strikes me there are at least two messages from Gideon in seasons like these.
Firstly, to remove any lingering sense of self sufficiency. We can’t do this in our own strength. But also to avoid wallowing in our weakness. Both are forms of pride.
We want to achieve great things, but God wants us to trust him more.
As God told Paul much later in history: “My power is made perfect in weakness.”
Approaching the end of his life, Jesus seems even weaker than Gideon.
He arrives in Jerusalem riding on a donkey. And unlike Gideon, (if you read the whole story) does not escape a lynching.
Yet Jesus’ death turns out to be the defeat of death itself. The ultimate display of God’s power in human weakness.
My prayer for all of us in the CMS family is that the Lord may give us a humble confidence in this season, whatever challenges we face. For
when we are weak, then we are strong.
From me and all the staff team at CMS, may I wish you a very Happy Easter.