The real boss

Judges 8:22-23  22 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.”  23 But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.”

Today’s passage gets to the very heart of why Gideon was successful.  In this chapter we see a different Gideon – we see a confident Gideon.  He destroys anyone in his path with such great confidence that it is terrifying.  The scared wimpy Gideon of the past is gone and the mighty warrior of God has arrived at the scene.  And the best part about it is that he realizes why he is different.  He recognizes the change in identity and purpose.  The difference is the changing power of God in his life.

So when the Israelites come to him and ask him to rule over them, he simply responds to them with the truth.  He says that he will not rule over them, but the Lord will rule over them.  The thing is: Gideon did rule over them.  He was the big boss; he ruled the nation.  But Gideon pointed toward God with his leadership.  He told them that God was the real boss.  God was the CEO, the CFO, and the COO.  He was the real one in charge.

It’s the most effective way to lead really, God through us.  With God, all of your shortcomings become a non-issue.  With God, all of your wisdom is trumped by all of His.  So when we lead our homes, our kids, our friends, or our companies, we should remember Gideon.  We should remember that it is the Lord who is truly leading.  Let’s just make sure that when we say that, we are really letting Him lead.  Doing so will produce the greatest success anyone’s ever known.

Trust me, you need less

Judges 7:1-3 1 Early in the morning, Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) and all his men camped at the spring of Harod. The camp of Midian was north of them in the valley near the hill of Moreh. 2 The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to deliver Midian into their hands. In order that Israel may not boast against me that her own strength has saved her, 3 announce now to the people, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. 

Here’s the scene: you’ve got 32,000 Israelite warriors ready to square off against a large number of Midianites.  By large number, I mean there were too many to count.  They were described as locusts and the number of camels was likened to sand on a seashore.  That’s a lot of bad guys!  So how in the world were 32,000 Israelite warriors supposed to defeat this massive force?  Well, they weren’t.  There were too many of them.  Too many Israelites, that is.  Now you might be thinking the same thing that I am: how in the world are there too many Israelites?  They are already outnumbered.  But when God says there are too many, you just go with it.

So Gideon releases 22,000 of them to go home, leaving them with 10,000.  God’s still thinks that is too easy of a victory, so He whittled this mighty army down to 300.  “Okay now Gideon, you and 300 guys are going to go and fight the massive population of Midian.”  The thing is, God knew what He was doing.  He even gives the reason that He wanted fewer soldiers – He wanted them to give Him the glory.  He wanted to make sure that they knew it was His victory, not theirs.  He didn’t want them taking credit for something He was about to pull off.  So He asked them to lay down their wealth of resources so that He could pull off a miracle. He wanted them to put their trust in Him, not in the greatness of their army.

Nothing much has changed, really since the days of Gideon.  We live our lives trying to build an army of 32,000 and never understand that 300 would be plenty for God.  We say, “but God, I don’t have enough money.”  He says that we have too much confidence in that money.   We say, “but God, I don’t have the abilities to take that on.”  He says that He has equipped us for everything He has called us too.  We look at our 10,000 and say it isn’t enough, but He wants to show His power to us with just 300.  This is the God we serve.  We must not have so much confidence in our army of resources that we take His miraculous power out of the picture.  If He is able to hand the victory to 300 Israelites, He is certainly able to take our lack and hand us the victory, too.  So what are we trusting in today?  Will we trust in our resources or His?  When you put all your trust in Him, He will get the glory and you will get the victory.

He calls you mighty

Judges 6:11-12 11 The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” 

Gideon was a weakling.  I could have taken him in a fight… I think.  His weakness came from how he saw himself.  He argued with the angel of the Lord about his assignment.  He was sure he couldn’t do it.  Just to see how lame he thought he was, we can look at verse 15: My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.  I mean, this guy had zero confidence.  So even when the Lord showed up, it was still a hard pill to swallow.  How could little old me change the world?

There was good news for Gideon – God saw him differently.  In verse 12, the angel shows up and calls him mighty warrior.  Now keep in mind that he is hiding out in a winepress threshing grain at this time.  He is full of fear, anxiety and worry.  So he hides from the enemy, not wanting to be discovered.  But the angel calls him mighty.  How can this be?  How can the angel call a scaredy cat like Gideon a mighty warrior?  I’ll give you two reasons:

1. God sees people the way He created them to be.  He sees in us the capacity of greatness – that He put in us – through His power.

2. God sees things for what they will be.  He isn’t stuck on what things look like in the present.

God saw Gideon in these two ways.  He saw him with the capacity of a mighty warrior and He saw him through the lens of what was to come.  It took Gideon a while to come around, but when he finally starting believing he was who God said he was… look out!  He was a force to be reckoned with.  But it took God telling Him who he was.  For when God tells us who we are, we can rise to that identity and stop looking through our own eyes.  It is at that point that the mirror doesn’t matter anymore; all that matters is the reflection of Him in our lives.

Understanding these truths will absolutely change your life.  This will change the way you see yourself; it will change the way you believe in yourself.  For God sees you the way He created you to be.  To Him, your identity is not limited to your poor choices or your insecurities.  He knows who you really are.  And He knows what you can become.  It is for this reason that He calls you mighty.  It is for this reason that little old me might just change the world.