“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Judges 6:15 NIV
When God first hints at something he wants us to do, and we hear the command, or the whisper, or the suggestion, however it may come to us, there is first a feeling of exhilaration that the Lord wants us to do something for him, and quick as a flash on the heels of that joy comes the blinking into the bright light daunted-ness of, hang on, you want ME to do WHAT? And then comes the clammy hand of fear on our backs and our feet, light as air a minute ago, now feel like someone poured concrete over them, and we are stuck fast in the mire of doubt.
But God speaks the same words over and over to his people when they feel daunted or uncertain of the way forward. “Take heart,” “Be courageous,” “am I not sending you?” for the cure for feeling daunted is obedience in faith. As long as we understand who is doing the sending, we can go. As long as we know that it is God’s work and he is the doer of it, we can move forward.
Gideon had no hope of victory with his tiny army. And yet when he expressed doubt, God reduced it still further. He sharpened the tools Gideon had, and paid no attention to quantity, only quality. And Gideon had the sense to see that he was being used of God. When that is happening, we can be confident the outcome is entirely in God’s hands. The Living God loves using the poor, the weak, the helpless for his causes. He does it to show us that he is in charge. It doesn’t mean that the work is necessarily easy, or that we won’t falter somewhere along the way, but it does mean that we can be assured that we are weapons being wielded by a higher power, with no need to rely on our own strength.
In the Bible we see this over and over again with Joseph, David, Joshua, Rahab, Elijah and Elisha to name just a few. Like Moses before the burning bush, we may stammer and be full of excuses, but if we are truly called, we will be unstoppable. Not because of our greatness, capabilities or strength, but because, like the five small stones in the pouch of a shepherd boy-king, we are going to be fired by his mighty hand.
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