No lie, for one whole year now, God has been trying to teach me the value of being weak.
Weak? No thank you.
Weak is lame.
Weak is something I have scoffed at.
And so my dear Daddy God decided I needed to learn the value of Weakness.
The first verse to really get my attention was Matthew 5:3:
Those people who know they have great spiritual needs are blessed,
because the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.
At first glance it looks like Jesus is saying it's a blessing to be needy. But by the second read, its pretty obvious that since we all have spiritual needs, we are actually at a good place if we know we have great spiritual needs, ie. WEAKNESS.
And then this morning God reminded me of a crazy odd Bible story. Do you remember the story of Gideon and the guys God didn't allow in the battle because of the way they drank water? It's found in Judges 6 and 7.
There is this guy Gideon who is an Israelite. Gone are the glory days of winning wars and God making water stand on end. The Israelites are actually living under cruel people who keep stealing their food. [Meanies.] They cry out to God to save them and that is when Gideon enters the scene.
Dun Dun Dun...
There are a couple of things Gideon did NOT have going for him:
1. He was from a weak family group, at least in his eyes. (6:15)
2. He thinks he is the least important member of his family.
3. His dad kind of defected. He had put up an alter to the other god. [Boo.] (6:25)
4. He was chicken-hearted. (6:27)
I can't say he would be my first pick for a hero. Obviously I didn't write this story.
An angel showed up at work one day and called him God's Mighty Warrior who was going to save the Israelites. After freaking out, offering excuses and asking for a sign, juuuuust to make sure... he says yes.
Gideon obeys God and knocks down the dumb idols, but at night because he didn't want to get beat up by the pro-idol people. After a near-riot he calls all these people to come fight with him against their oppressors.
The number of men that answer the call is really sweet. Scripture says that 32,000 men came ready to fight. I thought it was sweet. God apparently had different thoughts. Again.
"You have too many men," says God.
"Send anyone who is scared back home," says God.
And 22,000 went home. Gulp.
It doesn't say how Gideon felt about that, but I would have been ticked!
"There are still too many men," says God.
"Tell ya what, pay attention to how those guys drink water at the river," says God.
And then God sent most of the soldiers home for lapping up the water like dogs.
300 guys were left. Three.Hundred.
32,000 to 10,000 to 300.
Those 300 guys divided into 3 groups and spread around the enemy's camp during the night. When Gideon gave the signal, all the guys blew their trumpets and broke their jars and held up fire. Yes, that was their strategy. And they won!
What are the freaking chances?
And that is exactly what God wanted. "I don't want the Israelites to brag that they saved themselves." (7:2)
You know they didn't. When 300 guys defeat their much bigger captors with music and empty jars, it's pretty obvious that something supernatural is going on.
I'm shaking my head. I like the big army. I would MUCH rather step up to my problem over-equipped. The big army pretty much guarantees my victory. And it also shifts my confidence. It seems more natural to put my confidence in my abilities or in the tangibles around me. But God is calling me to something else.
He is calling me, and you too, to put my confidence TOTALLY, COMPLETELY, 100% in HIM!
He loves it when we are
weak in ourselves and
completely dependent on him!
Which sounds good on paper but what happens when that comes home with us and becomes reality?
It means we don't base our decisions on what looks possible.
Is God asking you to do something big that you feel ill-equipped to handle?
Lead the youth group at your church?
Start a Bible study?
Raise your kids God's way?
Use your gifts in a new and scary way?
Adopt when you already feel busy and crazy?
There is one phrase in the story of Gideon that makes all the difference:
The Spirit of the Lord entered Gideon...
Because the Spirit was inside of Gideon, he was able to hear God's play-by-play.
"Send men home.
Pay attention right here."
I don't know about you, but this story fills me with so much courage!
Let's not be afraid!
Let's not be ashamed of our weaknesses!
Let's listen to what the Spirit says we can do!
Even if our army is puny and our weapons are lame,
We know who is calling us into this fight!
"When you are weak, my power is made perfect in you!"
2 Corinthians 12:8