How Can I…?

by Mark T. Hancock · 0 comments

God’s people were suffering under a siege, of sorts.

The Midianites, Amalekites and others had Gideon and the rest of the Israelites pinned up in the mountains, their frequent and plunderous raids driving God’s people to dens, caves, and strongholds.

Reeling from generations of on-again off-again roller-coaster service and non-service to God, the Israelites cried out for deliverance. God heard their cry and sent a prophet to the people and then sent an Angel of the Lord to Gideon .

“…You shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you? ” the Angel asked. Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress. Out of options and out-of-place, Gideon responds, “…how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house”.

This unlikely hero had every reason to reject the idea that he would be used in bringing victory to God’s people. First of all, it was clear that they didn’t deserve it. God Himself had given them over to the Midianites because of their idolatry and worship of other gods. In Gideon’s mind, it would be reasonable to think that deliverance was unlikely. It would be more likely for the Angel to strike him dead right there on the spot for his lack of faith than for the Lord to use him to deliver Israel!

But the Lord had a different plan. And Gideon, the least of the weakest, was chosen.

After a bout with doubt and a fleece or two to seal his faith Gideon, in a daring nighttime raid of his own, destroyed the tokens to the false gods and built an altar to the Lord. This cleared the way for this unlikely hero to deliver the victory the Angel had promised.

What would you say to an Angel of the Lord Who asked, “Have I not sent you?”

Gideon’s “How can I…?” is probably not too far from my response. Gideon then went as far as to require the Angel to provide proof of Who He was. And in spite of his questionings and call for credentials, God still used Gideon.

What does this say about God’s choice of heroes?

This is no place for a dissertation on predestination or the sovereignty of God. Indeed, I am ill-equipped theologically to hold you to any of my opinions on the subject. But scriptural evidence is there to testify to the impression that God will use whomever He wills.

Gideon was far from the man of great faith and conviction that we, in the contemporary church, contend is necessary for victory.

I think we disqualify ourselves when we don’t live up to an ideal. Gideon doubted. Gideon questioned. Gideon was far from ready for what God required of him. But God still used Gideon.

On this side of the cross, WE are God’s choice. Imagine that. In spite of our questions and doubts and issues of self-worth GOD HAS CHOSEN US! We are His partners in the conquest of His creation for His Glory. That’s why Paul could write:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.”
(Ephesians 1:3-6)


“For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence.
(1 Corinthians 1:26-29)

The very things that we think exclude us sanction us for His service.

God loves the impossible. He lives in that realm. We limit ourselves to what we believe we can do when what He is calling us to do is what we can’t do!

When we look at the unlikely heroes – Gideon and others – their uncertainty, doubt and weakness didn’t invalidate them. One could argue that faith needs uncertainty, like a ladder needs a wall, to reach its height.

With certainty, faith is not needed, and without faith it is impossible to please God.

Could you be an unlikely hero? It’s very likely.

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