Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Hear Who God Says You Are

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon he said, "The Lord is with you, mighty warrior." Judges 6:12 (NIV)

Gideon was a man just trying to get through one more awful day.

The people called the Midianites were relentlessly devastating Israel, destroying the crops, killing the livestock, and making his people incredibly poor and discouraged. Israel had pulled away from God and this was the result. Now Gideon was hiding in a winepress of all places, threshing wheat, just trying not to lose anything more while the people were crying out for help.

Then the angel of the Lord appeared and called him, "Mighty Warrior."

You could say Gideon found this to be crazy talk, hearing the heavenly visitor tell him the Lord was with them. Have you looked around? was basically Gideon's reply. Do you see what we are going through, I'm going through? It looks like the Lord has abandoned us.

God answered that Gideon should go in the strength that he had and save Israel, that He was sending him.

Gideon continued to protest about his worthless family and his low place in it. How do I know this is you, God? he fretted. But God's answer kept coming back that He would be with Gideon and that Gideon would save his nation. Often, we find ourselves in places just like Gideon.

Years ago, I served a small church as pastor. They felt their best days were behind them. Their numbers at that time were far fewer than what they had been in their heyday. There were only 2 children, 3 every other Sunday, and most of the members were senior citizens. The location of the church was where a town had once been, in the middle of farm fields. Like Gideon, they saw their circumstances as overwhelming and perhaps a sign that God had passed them by. That was their self-image, defeated, incapable of rising again, hidden from the world.

But God had a different name and plan. He called them "vital church." They simply needed to hear Him and His love which is always overflowing with hope, even if we've failed. They needed a few new strategies just as Gideon did which he, and they, received.

With a one-room Sunday school curriculum, the church began to meet the needs of children of different ages in one class. They began actively inviting children to church and later to the first Vacation Bible School they had had in a long time. They entered the town parade. Parents of the kids were lovingly invited too. Ultimately, the church doubled its attendance and started a youth group for teens. A fellowship hall was built. They began to thrive again. All this, because they made the decision to hear God's good heart for them and not listen to their own internal, fearful voices.

You may be in tough circumstances too. You may be feeling, There's no way out, the best I can do is try to get by. Is God saying something like, "Mighty warrior," to you? God's view of you is far bigger than the way you see yourself because of the help He is prepared to give. God has a gracious plan, not just for you to survive this hard time, but to thrive and then lift others up.

Change the channel to His voice. It is always the voice of hope and promises.

Romans 4:17 (NIV) describes God as the One "who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not." Obedience is agreeing with Him. He is making all things new.

Copyright © March 2019, Rev. Pam Morrison, used with permission.

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