God didn’t let Gideon stay in the winepress.
You see, my bosses at Cornerstone Academy saw in me something that I could not see in myself. They could see that I had it in me to the do the job and to do it well. Had they not believed in me, I would not have felt empowered to do what I had been called to do.
We are so hard on ourselves. We have such a hard time seeing past the ugliness that captures our focus. We need someone to come along and tell us what we truly have under there, we need them to see who we really are, and empower us to come out of hiding. We will not come out on our own.
The angel of the Lord comes down and meets Gideon at the winepress and says these empowering words to him.
“The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”
Let me remind you that God is speaking to that guy that was hiding in the winepress. And let me also tell you that he is also speaking to me and to you wherever you are hiding. This is my absolute favorite verse in the entire Bible, because it is a continual reminder that God does not see us as we see ourselves. He comes in pursuit of us and declares whom we truly are.
What God sees in us is not the sinful coward that is in hiding, what God sees in each of us is a mighty warrior. Did you hear that? A warrior, not just any warrior, a mighty one! It’s really hard for me to swallow too.
These are the first words out of Gideon’s mouth.
" but sir"
Those are usually my exact words too. When we hear God we are full of excuses as well. Let me just highlight his first two excuses.
I have been cheated. In a nutshell that must be what he was feeling. Well, that’s what I feel when those “but sir” words spew out of my mouth. When Gideon takes a look at what he has heard about God and what he is witnessing at the moment there is a disconnect that he can’t quite seem to reconcile.
“It just doesn’t make sense, I hear that you change lives and you use people to bring glory to you, but you have surely abandoned me and I have got too little left to offer. You have delivered other people from addictions, you give them every thing they need to make a difference in the world, but in me, I just don’t see it. I take one step forward and two steps back. Where are you Lord? I’ve got nothing. You certainly can’t use me.”
One thing is for sure, when HE is the one commanding us, really, that is all we need. If he can command the world into existence, I think he can handle whatever he has in mind for you. As much as we may argue, the fact is, we have not been cheated. The Lord has his power available to all who are his.
“Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
I am a nobody. My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
This excuse is my personal favorite. As my story unfolds you will understand why. I am the youngest of 4 siblings, and as such I feel I have a right declare myself as the least of my family. My brother was 8 years older than me, and my twin sisters 4. As the baby of the family I was pretty much left to follow everyone around. I had no voice, or if I did I’m pretty sure it wasn’t taken seriously. You can imagine what a stretch it is for me to believe that anything I say is worth listening to (even still at 42).
Is there anything in your past that makes you think that you are a nobody, that you have no voice, no power, no strength? Your time is up sister, you are a somebody in Christ. He is calling you a Mighty Warrior.
Go forth, he is sending you, go with full confidence even when it looks like there is no way that your 300 men can defeat the great mean army out there.
I must admit that still, on a daily basis I ask God: “you sure ‘bout this?’
Do I not send you?
Go paint that portrait, go raise that difficult child, write that proposal or make that call. Go bake that meal for your neighbor, write that encouraging note, that article, that book. Go on that mission trip, adopt that baby. Give that money, support that missionary. Whatever God is calling you to do, go, do it. He is sending you. He will be with you.
Stop hiding, grab that jar of clay and torch and scream loud!