The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” NIV
I love the story of Gideon. At this point, when the angel of the Lord sits down to speak to him, Gideon is threshing wheat in a winepress. He and his people have been terribly oppressed by the Midianites, and, presumably, the winepress was somewhat more sheltered than places where the wheat would ordinarily have been threshed, making it less likely that a Midianite will show up to steal the wheat that Gideon is working with.
Gideon is making do with what he has.
I love that. He has found a way to achieve his objective, despite seemingly large obstacles. But, Gideon isn’t thinking as big as God is thinking. God wants to use Gideon’s abilities to achieve great things for Israel, not just to provide for his own family.
In verse 12, when the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, He said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Gideon pushes back, asking, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers old us about?”
Gideon has heard the stories of God bringing Israel up out of Egypt, but now, they seem to him to be just that … stories. I find this part so interesting. The angel of the Lord shows up to talk to him, and Gideon, instead of falling on his face, displays his hurt and anger at all that has happened. And, God doesn’t smite him … far from it … he is encouraging and really patient.
He says to Gideon … “Go in the strength you have … am I not sending you?”
Gideon protests some more. He says that he is the weakest of his family, to which God answers, “I will be with you.”
In the rest of the chapter, Gideon asks the angel of the Lord to wait while he prepares an offering, and He does, and then he asks God twice to confirm his instructions by first wetting a fleece with dew on dry ground and then wetting the ground with dew and leaving the fleece dry. God patiently complies with all of these requests.
Go in the strength you have … am I not sending you?
How often do we doubt our own abilities? How often do we fail to rely on the limitless strength of the one true God who is sending us into the world to do His work? God repetitively tells us, “I am with you,” and yet, we still see the world through the lens of our worries, and our own perceptions of our strengths and weaknesses.
I will have to think about that today.