Welcome to 21 Days of Strength. I hope you’re encouraged by stories of the mighty men and women of valor in the Bible. Each started out weak and ended up strong. World changers. Let’s take another look at Gideon. He was least and last in a family whose clan was the weakest in their tribe. He was the runt of the litter. A self-described loser. Yet the angel of the Lord approached Gideon with these astounding words, “The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.”
“The angel of the Lord” is a term reserved for a very special kind of messenger. Most scholars believe “the angel of the Lord” describes an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. God in physical form. Read a little further. You’ll notice that instead of “the angel of the Lord,” this visitor is actually referred to as the Lord Himself: And the Lord turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian; do not I send you?” (Judges 6:11-14 ESV).
This was a defining moment for Gideon. He asked for a sign to see if this was really the Lord. He made an offering of meat and meal which the Lord touched with his staff. The offering burst into flames so Gideon knew it was the Lord. He was terrified, certain he would die because he had seen the Lord. But God assured Gideon he would not die. So he built an altar to the Lord and called it, “The Lord is Peace” (Judges 6:24).
God then asked Gideon to do a very hard thing. He was to tear down the altar to Baal at his father’s home. Gideon took ten servants and did as the Lord had told him. “But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night” (Judges 6:28).
“Who could have done such a thing?” the men of the town asked the next day. They discovered it was Gideon. So they went to Joash and said, “Your son Gideon knocked over Baal’s altar… Hand him over, so we can kill him!” Gideon’s father replied, “Are you trying to take revenge for Baal? If you are, you will be the ones who are put to death…If Baal really is a god, let him take his own revenge on someone who tears down his altar.”
That same day, his father changed Gideon’s name to Jerubbaal, explaining, “He tore down Baal’s altar, so let Baal take revenge himself.” (Judges 6: 30-32 CEB). This marked the beginning of Gideon as a leader of Israel against their enemies. And a new day of courage for Joash, his father.
God delights in making weak people strong. Isn’t that great news for all of us? Gideon, who started out “less than,” is listed right up there among the great heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, a chapter that many call the Hall of Fame of Faith:
“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies” Hebrews 11:32-34 NIV).
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