EMPOWERED FOR GREATNESS – PART I
The man Gideon is our text case. I will start with a background story as found in the book of Judges Chapter 6: 1- 14.The Israelites as we read in the Bible were special people unto God. He loved them so much and He would always fight for them against their enemies. But whenever they turned their backs against God, He in turn would use their enemies to punish them so as to win back their attention. Let us back up a little bit and read from Judges Chapter Four, verse 1,
“After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the LORD. So the LORD sold them into the hands of Jabin, a king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor…” Jabin’s commander at that time was Sisera. After 20 solid years of oppression by these people, the Israelites cried to the LORD for help. That period Deborah, the prophetess was in charge as a leader in Israel. She sent for Barak and told him what God said. Barak was to lead the people to war against Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army. What was Barak’s reply? He told Deborah that if she was not following him to the battle field he, Barak, would not go. He recognized that God was with Deborah. Well, they went to fight the war and God gave Sisera into their hands. He was killed by a woman named Jael. The Israelites were full of jubilations after the victory (chapter 5), and in verse 31 we read that the land of Israel had peace for 40 years.
By the time we get to chapter 6 of the book of Judges, what do we have to say about the Israelites? The bible states in verse 1, “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.” These people were so oppressive. The Midianites, the Amalekites and other Eastern people invaded the land of Israel and destroyed their farm lands. (6 v.4). By the time we get to verse 6 we see again that the Israelites cried unto the LORD for help. Psalm 121: 1 “I will lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” The Israelites acknowledged the fact that only God can help in times of crisis. As usual, God sent a prophet to them to remind them that He is their God, and that they should not worship the gods of the Amorites but they refused to listen to His warning. It was in the midst of this crisis that an angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, son of Joash, under the oak of Ophrah, and he said to Gideon:
The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valor!” (v.12). That was strange to Gideon hence he said to the angel. “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? But now the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” Then the Lord turned to him and said, Go in this might of yours , and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?”