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Refusing to be held back

I have always found the Old Testament very inspiring and in Judges 6 I read about how Godís people of Israel suffered at the hands of the Midianites. Due to their sin, God had removed His protection from His people, and so their enemies were able to raid their land and rob them of their livelihood.

It is in this situation that God calls Gideon to deliver Israel from their oppressors. Gideon was threshing wheat in his fatherís winepress for fear of the raiding bands when an Angel appeared to him saying, ďThe LORD is with you, mighty man of valourĒ. Looking at his circumstances, Gideon would hardly have felt like a mighty man.

Rather than embracing what the angel has just said about him he responds with a question regarding the plight of his people as a whole (v.13): ďIf the LORD is with us, why then has this happened to us? Where are all His miracles ...?Ē At this point, the angel could have given Gideon an explanation for Israelís plight, but he does not even answer Gideonís question. Instead he turns the focus back on Gideon. ďGo in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?Ē (v.14)

For Gideon it was difficult to comprehend that he should be Godís choice. He had surely heard the stories about the great judges who had led Israel in victory over their enemies. These were great men (chapters 4-5) of God; but who was he to save Israel? After all, his family was insignificant, and he was the least in his fatherís house! (v. 15)

I sometimes see that this happens to me and other people that we are often held back from what God wants us to be by the way we see ourselves. We may even act and talk as if we were confident in God, but deep down inside we do not believe that God can use us for his purposes.

Our background, our past failures, and the comments that others have made to us and about us - all these things add to a sense of inadequacy that makes us deaf to Godís call. And many of these influences will remain with us as long as we live. Even after Gideonís victory some rebuked him, still convinced that God should have used them rather than him (Judges 8:1). By that time, however, Gideon had learnt to deal with such influences, because he had come to realise who he was in God (vv. 2-3). By that time, no one could rob him of Godís call.

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