Gideon’s strength

Gideon’s Call
, 1860 woodcut by Julius Schnorr von Karolsfeld

Go in this might of yours. … As a man is, so is his strength.

Judges 6:14; 8:21.

Today’s texts present two similar sounding, yet contrasting statements.

“Go in this might of yours.” These are true words from God himself. Gideon’s strength came from the weakness that he sensed so profoundly. He was the youngest son of an insignificant family. So he considered himself to be an unsuitable servant of God. Yet God could use him for precisely that reason. The verse: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9) is most apt here. Any trust in human strength is a hindrance to God’s power; humility and a sense of weakness are the pre-conditions for the work of God (cf. Judges 6:15).

On a later occasion Gideon’s enemies said of him: “As a man is, so is his strength.” Here Gideon was praised, even flattered for his strength and his impressive victory. Haven’t the enemies’ words a more pleasant ring in our ears than what God said? Aren’t we happier, more satisfied, more self-assured when strength and not weakness characterizes us? Isn’t strength more desirable than a humiliating, helpless sense of weakness? Don’t we often pray for strength for ourselves? When do we think of God’s basic conditions, our weakness, in our prayers?

God’s standards and values are different from ours. So that the power of Christ can be effective in us, we must be conscious of our weakness and accept it. Then God will have the opportunity to show His power. Let us pray that He might be glorified in our lives, even in, or precisely at times when we sense our own weakness so deeply.

Image: By Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld – Die Bibel in Bildern, Public Domain,