You’ve got to be kidding… by Caleb H.
April 21, 2008, 5:04 am
Filed under: Devotions

by Caleb Hancock

Have you ever read about Gideon? He was one of the Judges that God used to rescue Israel in the Old Testament. Check out his story here in Judges 6-8.

As I was reading this last week, I was amazed by the story. God calls Gideon, this Jewish man full of questions and doubts to save Israel from the Midianites. He repeatedly asks God for signs again and again. He meets God’s messenger face to face, sees him do miraculous things, and yet is still afraid. So this is the setting that we have as Gideon calls out the men of Israel to fight with him against Israel’s enemies in chapter seven.

But what does God say? He tells Gideon to send those men who are fearful home. So 22,000 (That’s the equivalent of UT’s undergraduates) walk home. So, after almost 70% of his men leave, Gideon must be nervous about the upcoming battle.

But God tells him that there are still too many men to fight. So he has the men drink water, and tells Gideon to distinguish between the ones who kneel down with their face to the water versus those who kneel and bring the water to their mouths with their hands. (Like the boy in the picture above) After they are separated, only 300 men remain who brought the water to their mouths. So now, only 1% of the initial army remains to fight with Gideon. Can you imagine what this man, who was full of doubts at best, must have been thinking?

Are you in similar-feeling situations? Do you feel like your circumstances are not looking too good? Do you ask God, “Why?” “Are you kidding me?!” “Where have you gone?”

Do you think that Gideon was familiar with this?

But what happens? God delivers Israel, Gideon and his 300 men defeat the dual-kinged nation of Midian. How? In verse 22 we see that the LORD brought about the victory, setting the Midianites into suicidal confusion.

So why did he prune Gideon’s army so? Look back at verse 2: “Lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ “

This is a great illustration for the Christian’s salvation. We are like Gideon and Israel: weak, doubtful, and looking back at our past, treacherous and rebellious against the Lord, deserving of death. (Romans 3:23, 6:23a)

But God, the Lord, who we have offended time and again by our lives and hearts, He has mercy, sending His Sinless-Son to bear the punishment that our sins deserve on a cross. I am so thankful for that cross today, because through it, my sins are paid for. So we see that salvation and redemption come not from a prestigious background or performance, nor a pedigree that is beyond questioning, but by God’s mercy alone. Why? Ephesians 2 informs us:

8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

So, we all share in Israel’s guilt. And we have all personally sinned against a HOLY God. But because He chose to have mercy, those who cry out to Him in faith, confessing their sins, and because He is Just, punishing His innocent Son in our place, we can receive the forgiveness and joy that come through the Gospel!

So don’t boast in yourself today, but rather in the Father and Savior and Spirit that have taken your spiritually dead corpse and have raised you to life in Christ Jesus! What we were powerless to do, God did ,that He alone might receive all of the praise and glory! How good he is to us!


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