Stepping outside our comfort zones as Christians so often requires a leap of faith in the direction of forgiving and forgetting ancestry. You know what I’m talking about? Maybe for you it is some fleshly desire that was a result of your family environment. Maybe it is something your relative did to you years ago and you can’t let it go. Perhaps you just simply grew up on what you felt was the wrong side of the tracks. Regardless of what it is, as humans, our tendency is to use the “defect” as a reason for other decisions we make. And that is exactly what happened to Gideon.
The background of Gideon’s story is the story of the children of Israel. They just didn’t learn their lesson and we find them once again disobeying God’s laws and turning to idols. As a result, they are living in utter poverty and held completely at bay by the Midianite people. Even their crops have to be hidden in an effort to have some minuscule amount of food. This is where we find Gideon, hiding by the winepress, threshing the grain. Not on the threshing floor… that would have been too obvious. In an unexpected, subtle place where no one would be looking for food.
The Bible tells us God showed up here to give Gideon some encouragement. “The Lord is with you, thou mighty man of valour.” I just love this. Not only was God telling Gideon that He was with him, but he was also telling him just what Gideon was as a result of that.
The word “valor” in the Hebrew is the word “chayil.” This word requires five English words to explain its value.
God was telling Gideon that he was equipped for what God had called him to do. The Lord had given him strength. He had made him physically appropriate for the job. He created Gideon with an efficient mind. He possessed a wealth that was beyond his knowledge. He was trained and ready for battle. In one sentence, God is telling Gideon all this. Just amazing!
For a minute, please think with me about Gideon’s status at this time…What was Gideon doing? Where was he at? How did he feel?
Let me propose that he was first:
1. Alone. Gideon was away from distractions. He was hiding from the Midianites and was most likely away from other people.
2. Active. He was working at threshing the wheat in an attempt to feed his family. He didn’t just sit around and give up; he did what he knew to do.
3. Anxious. The fact that he was threshing by the wine floor and not on the threshing floor explains that he was under pressing circumstances.
All of us as Christians have the desire to be close to the Lord. We have different levels of that desire, but the more we obey His Word and pursue our relationship with Him, the deeper the desire becomes. How do we feed that desire? By placing ourselves in situations where we are completely available to Him. Typically that means we should be:
1. Alone. Want to grow a relationship? Spend intimate, isolated time and what happens? Growth.
2. Active. While we wait on the Lord to show us the path we anticipate, we should be doing what we KNOW to do. If God gave you a family, provide and care for them. Be involved faithfully in your local body of believers. Live your life in the community in a manner pleasing to Him.
3. Anxious. Wow. “Be anxious for nothing- Phil. 4:6.” The first place to turn in our worry: “Let your requests be made known to God- Phil. 4:7.”
Part 2 to come… stay in the Word! 🙂