Andy Hollifield 4-22-18
Judges 6:11-16 And there came an angel of the Lord, and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. (12) And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour. (13) And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hand of the Midianites. (14) And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? (15) And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. (16) And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.
I have always loved the story of Gideon because I think he and I are a lot alike. If I were put in the same situation, I would have been asking the same questions and making the same excuses. I have written about how that Moses lacked the self confidence to undertake the Lord’s calling on his life without first offering the Lord a list of excuses, although in his mind they were reasons. Gideon is another man much like Moses in that regard. His first question was “Wherewith am I going to save Israel?” Then came the excuses; “My family is poor in Manasseh.” I know one thing for sure; if riches had of been a qualification for salvation or to preach I would have never been born again let alone preached. Also, if where I was from had anything to do with being used of God I would have been finished before I even got started. Although I loved growing up in Woodfin, NC and especially in Martel Village, most people outside of Buncombe and Madison Counties have never heard of Woodfin much less Martel Village. I remember reading in John 1:46 where that Nathanael asked speaking of Jesus when Philip told him about the Lord” Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” That was kind of the opinion of Woodfin back in the day. It wasn’t like it was an impressive place to be from but I was proud of it nonetheless. Then came another really good one; “I am the least in my father’s house.” That excuse means absolutely nothing to the Lord. He made that plain when he chose David to be king over Israel when he was just a young boy and had Samuel to go anoint him. He was the least among his brethren also and we know how greatly God used him. God also made it plain to Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:7 “…the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” As a matter of fact, Jacob was the younger of two brothers and even though he obtained the blessing from his father Isaac by deceit, God still kept his promise and established the nation of Israel through him.
Too many times we miss out on the blessings and suffer the chastisement of the Lord because we refuse to be obey his commands. We make the same mistake that Samuel did concerning David, and Moses and Gideon did with themselves. We judge our abilities by what we see and know but God chooses us for service because he knows what he can make out of us. Gideon was obviously a man that felt totally inadequate to be the leader of Israel and especially to be a soldier leading their army. God had to give Gideon three different signs before Gideon gained the confidence to lead and the courage to fight. He was just a wheat farmer and not a wealthy one at that. We have a tendency to limit God based on our finances. We seem to forget that he gave them to us to start with. Back in 1992, I had a local radio broadcast for half an hour on Saturday mornings at our local gospel station for almost a year and a half and never paid a dime out of pocket until the last month or two before I went off. I had went in with another preacher and he left not too long after because he started pastoring a church. I took a job that made me start missing some Saturdays and it was only then that I had to start paying. I had just gotten married when we started it so I knew I couldn’t afford it. We only had a couple regular supporters and one of them paid for one week per month and the other one gave five dollars every two or three weeks. That didn’t cover thirty dollars a week that it cost. God let churches that I preached at take offerings for the broadcast and even once had a lady come by the station on her way to work and jump out of her car and hand me twenty dollars and then leave. God can finance anything that he needs to.
God had told Samuel not to look on the countenance or stature of David’s brothers because he had refused them. As I mentioned, David would have been voted least likely to be a soldier if it was left up to man’s judgment. He would have never been picked to be Israel’s greatest king. God also doesn’t look on the things you have done or will do. He knows them before we do them but yet he chooses us anyway. He knew about Bathsheba before even David did but he chose David anyway. He knew Jonah would go the opposite way when he told him to go to Nineveh but he chose him anyway and a whole city of over 120,000 repented in sackcloth and ashes even including their livestock. Look at everything that Saul did to destroy the church but God chose him, changed his name, and made him arguably the greatest church planter and one of the greatest preachers ever. God also knew that Rahab was a harlot but he allowed her to help his army and she wound up marrying an Israelite and had a baby named Boaz who married a widow from Moab. They begat Obed and Obed begat Jesse and Jesse begat David and if you go far enough, you find that is the lineage of Christ. Who would have ever thought that a harlot and a widow from a heathen nation would have ever been distant gramdmas of Christ? God can do whatever he wants with whoever he wants wherever he wants and whenever he wants. Aren’t you glad that God does look on the heart and not on our history? If God would have taken recommendations, I never would have been a preacher of the gospel. I suggested three other men, when the Lord called me to preach, that would have been far better in my opinion but God told me that if he wanted them he would call them.
When you read back at some of the people that felt inadequate and incapable, and see the way God used them, it should make us more willing to serve him and not be so quick to say, “Not me!” Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!