I am good enough, a story about Gideon
I always was a coward, it’s true. We are all cowards, our whole nation. I don’t think it was always this way. Our history was full of stories of greatness, times of peace and prosperity, wisdom and knowledge. Our ancestors followed the One True God and saw the benefits of his favor. They saw his miracles, and had his protection. But those days are gone. No one listens to God anymore. Now we worship the gods of our surrounding nations, Baal and the Ashtaroth. Ironically that didn’t buy us any favor with our neighbors. We should have destroyed them when we first came to this land after our escape from Egypt. It would have saved us a lot of trouble. Supposedly that’s what God wanted us to do and obviously we didn’t listen. I wish we had; but who am I to judge, that was all before my time.
Now we are at war. Or at least we would be if we had any courage. Instead we hide in dens and caves in the mountains, while they destroy all our food and steal our livestock. Every year we plant our crops and every harvest they devastate them. They leave us with nothing to live on. There are so many of them! It’s not just Midian, our sworn enemy, but they come with the Amalekites and all the nations from the east. They bring their livestock, their camels, and their tents and camp out on our land. There are more than can be counted. They are like a plague of locusts, and there is nothing we can do about it. If only God would answer our cries. But it’s been like this for seven years. I guess God has forgotten us, or decided we deserve this misery. If something doesn’t happen soon we will all die of starvation.
My life is miserable. I spend a lot of it in hiding. Then one day something happened to me. I was hiding out in the wine press, beating out some wheat and hoping not to get noticed. We never have grapes anymore and I thought I could get enough wheat to make bread without being seen by the Midianites. Suddenly I had a visitor. The man was not dressed like or enemies, I didn’t know who he was. He said the strangest things. Called me a mighty warrior and said the LORD was with me. I ignored the mighty warrior part; he obviously didn’t know much about me. But I couldn’t let him believe the LORD was with me. That was a sore subject with me and I let him know he was wrong. “O my lord,” I said, “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 abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” If only God would rescue us!
The man looked at me. Or should I say, into me. I suddenly realized this was no ordinary person I was talking too. He had power, I could feel it. I could see it in his eyes. Who was I talking to? Could this be an angel, a messenger from God? Maybe I should be more careful of my tongue. I about fell over at his next words. “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” Oh my goodness, there must be some mistake. Why didn’t he rescue Israel? Didn’t he know who I was? Strength, I had no strength.He wanted me to deliver Israel, in my strength. Look at me; I’m hiding in a winepress. He must be mistaken. How could God possibly use me the way I am now? I knew I had better explain who I am. “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” Surely that will clear things up.
Something about how he looked at me and his answer made me think that I might actually be talking to God and he might really want me to do this thing. Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat Midian as one man.” I had to be sure. If this was God, I had to obey. Perhaps the end of our misery was in sight. I still didn’t see how God could use me to deliver Israel. But if he is with me, I guess anything is possible.
Later, when I realized it really was God that I talked to, I was petrified. No one can see God and live. But he assured me that it was ok. I was still a coward. The first job he had me do was to pull down my father’s alter to Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it. I was so afraid of what my father would do, and everyone else for that matter, that I had to wait until night. I had good reason to be afraid. I thought I was dead meat. The men of the city wanted to kill me for it. But my father stood up for me and it turned out ok.
So if you ever feel like you are not good enough for God to use you, and you need to be better at whatever he’s asking before you can obey him, I know how you feel. But I learned that it isn’t true. He’s so great that he can use you just the way you are. If you want to find out all the things that happened to me, and what cowards we continued to be, you can read my story in the Bible. It’s found in the book of Judges, chapter 6 – 8. You can see how God used me anyway, and maybe it will encourage you to obey God, just the way you are.