The LORD said, “Go in this your strength … Have I not sent you? Surely I will be with you.” Judges 6:14,16 (NASB)
Would you call someone brave if he threshed wheat in a winepress to hide from the enemy? That’s what Gideon did, and yet the angel of the Lord greeted him as a “valiant warrior” (Judges 6:12 NASB).
Eventually Gideon became a valiant warrior, but at first he complained to the angel and questioned God. “O my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian” (Judges 6:13 NASB)
The text then says the LORD looked at him and said, “Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” (6:14). But Gideon was still unconvinced. He said, “O Lord, how shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the least in Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house” (6:15).
The Hebrew word koach, translated strength in Judges 6:14, means “to be firm.” It is used for the strength of humans, angels, and God.* What is Gideon’s strength? God’s presence. God had done great miracles in Israel by being present with them in the past. God tells Gideon, “Surely I will be with you” (16). In other words, “Go in My strength, not yours.”
We sometimes have the mistaken idea that when we mature as Christians, our strength will increase. We’re sometimes surprised by how weak we prove to be. But when God sends us, He equips us with His strength. He goes with us. We mature as we yield ourselves to His strength and acknowledge His presence.
Do you feel weak and insignificant? Rely on God’s strength and presence.
Read Judges 6:16-24. Who is the “angel of the LORD”? How does Gideon realize this? What is his response?
Read Judges 7:8-8:32, the story of Gideon’s triumph over the Midianites and his later life. In what instances did he depend on the strength of the Lord? When did he depend his own strength?
According to Romans 5:6-8, what is Jesus Christ’s attitude toward weak sinners like us?
Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. What does Paul tell us about his weaknesses? When is he strong? How do you feel about being weak? Can you boast in your weakness?
Nancy J. Baker
*Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 5 Sep 2012. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm? strongs=H3581