THE CALL OF GIDEON
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I don’t know where you are in your life right now. Most reading these devotionals are probably young parents for that is the purpose of these lessons. But I’m guessing there are also those who are yet to be parents as well as those whose parenting is never completed, but the children have left the “nest.” I’m in this category and actually edging closer to retirement. As I do, I’ve noticed my prayers changing a bit.
I’ve noticed my prayers changing a bit. For me the future seems uncertain.
For me the future seems uncertain. Before when children entered our home, their lives dictated our lives. We were involved in what seemed a never-ending cycle of caring, educating, entertaining, and more as they grew. Where would they go to school turned into where would they go to high school to where would they go to college to where would they work to who they would marry. Now that they are safely on their own and blessed in their own rights, our lives are more open, more free, and to be honest, a bit more scary.
That’s why reading Gideon’s story is a blessing. Gideon was simply surviving. Maybe his prayers were similar to mine. Not that I’m suffering by any means, but no matter what causes the uncertainty, our prayers can be similar. The hope for me comes from two things that happened next in his story.
First, an Angel shows up. He comes when least expected. In fact, isn’t that typical? We pray and pray for God to reveal, do, or change something, and then when He answers, we’re often surprised. Lesson to me (and all of us), be ready for God to show up, because He will.
Be ready for God to show up, because He will.
Second, notice the greeting given to Gideon: “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (Judges 6:12, NKJV). It’s the second part that intrigues me most. Notice that the Lord calls him what he will be. There’s no indication that Gideon had done anything of any significance to earn such a greeting. But God was calling him to a job that, with God’s help, he would become.
I don’t know where I will be in the next three years or what I will be doing. I doubt I will be conquering Midianites, but I know I want to be alert, listening, and open to God saying to me: “The Lord is with you, you mighty woman of . . .!” I want to serve Him. I want to do what He calls me to do. I want to be what He sees I will become. I will rest in His will and be renewed.
Although God saw and recognized Gideon in the potential he was, it didn’t immediately alter Gideon’s thoughts of himself. Notice there are six times that Gideon resists what God is calling him to do.
- “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” (v. 13). We pray and when God answers or provides a solution, we often begin to question instead of accepting, praising, and thanking Him. Be open to His voice and response.
- “I am the least in my father’s house.” (v. 15). How often do we immediately focus on what we lack. No one will listen. No one will be interested. No one will answer the door. No one will pay attention. With God we are never “least.”
- “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign . . .” (v. 17). Another typical response we share with Gideon. When God calls, do not doubt. Rise up and go in faith of His promises.
- “But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city . . .” (v. 27) Fear is something that can easily prevent us from following through on God’s call. We are afraid of what people might think, that we might fail, or that people will criticize. When God calls, He will protect and defend us.
- “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have said—” (v. 36, 39). Gideon struggled with letting go of doubt and fear. God was ever-patient with him and provided him the answer to not one test, but two! God is aware of our humanness, our doubts, our fears, but steps up to help us.
I don’t know if Gideon expected to be called to be a warrior. God may call you to do something you completely do not expect. Be open. Be unafraid. Trust in God.
Making it Real
Wondering what God will provide in the future is challenging when you focus only on that. The best thing to do is exactly what the Israelites did repeatedly—remember the past. Why not make a list at evening worship of everything God has done for you or your family in the past? You might be surprised at how long the list is, and if God can do all of that for you, certainly He will do the same and more in the future.
Respond & Share
Have you ever tested God like Gideon? How did that work for you? Was it reassuring or confusing? Share with us in the comments below!
Merle Poirier writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she works as the operation manager for Adventist Review and Adventist World magazines as well as the designer for KidsView, a magazine for 8-12-year-olds. She enjoys spending time with her family including being the grandmother of two active little boys, who greatly enjoy Starting With Jesus.