I gave my heart to Jesus and was baptized in November 1991. Yet I didn’t truly come to know Jesus, at a personal heart level, until about the year 2000 when I was In college. This was a spiritually deep time in my life. So I decided I wanted to truly know the Bible for myself. I decided I wanted to read the entire Bible, so I started the One Year Bible reading plan. I also picked up a wonderful little book written by a wonderful little lady called "The Desire of Ages" and came face to face with Jesus Christ. My heart was converted to Christ and I have never been the same since. Some people describe their conversion as a dynamic 180 experience, while others describe their story like mine, as a gradual process over the years. I remember that I fell so deeply in love with Jesus and was so passionate about reading the Bible that sometimes I would catch myself reading the Bible while waiting in line at a fast food restaurant. However, I encountered a dilemma while reading the Bible. I just couldn’t understand how those stiff-necked children of Israel could repeatedly disobey God after everything He had brought them through. God delivers them from Egypt, He manifests His presence to them, gives them the Law of Love, feeds them manna and quail cuisine in the desert and all they knew to do was complain. Finally God was able to raise up and send the 2nd generation of Israelites into the Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua. And as long as Joshua lived they served the Lord, but once Joshua died, the Bible declares one of the most frustrating and frequent statements in scripture, “Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord…” This becomes the recurring theme of the book of Judges. The children of Israel forsake God, worship idols and are oppressed by their enemies. Then God, in His mercy, raises up a judge to deliver His people. Then, like a broken record, comes that awful statement, “And again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord…” I would get so frustrated reading that. Why couldn’t the children of Israel just serve God? Then Jesus began to show me something. And I think, if we are honest with ourselves, the reason these stories annoy us is because, deep down, we can identify with them. If the story of our lives were to be read, like the children of Israel’s, we’d probably find that same statement said about us! “And again, CJ did evil in the sight of the Lord…” By the time you get to Judges chapter 6 you find the children of Israel in a position of defeat. Because the Israelites had failed to drive out all of the inhabitants of the land and began to worship their idols, now the Midianites, who they had previously defeated, were destroying their produce, ravaging their land, and oppressing God’s people. They had neglected to drive them out of the land! And it is also because we too have neglected to drive some thing’s out of our lives, that we find ourselves in a posture of defeat in the presence of the Enemy! Called by God, but unable to reach our fullest potential! Well I’ve got good news for you. The beauty of the book of Judges is the picture we get of a loving God who refuses to give up on those who He has called. And in Judges 6, we will discover God’s desire for us to embrace three powerful principles for fulfilling our calling as mighty men and women of valor.
"Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. And the Angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said to him, “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Judges 6:11-12 NKJV
I am so glad that we serve a God who looks beyond our feeble posture and sees our future potential. As a matter of fact, He calls us what we will be right now! God looks Gideon, who is in hiding, straight in the eye and calls him a might man of valor. And I believe God has called you to be a man or woman of valor. You see if your going to be a man or woman of valor you’ve got to…
Get God’s Perspective
Our calling is based on what God says we are and not what we currently look like!
God rest his soul, but if you and I met Steve Jobs in 1972 we would have written him off as an abject failure. He was adopted and dropped out of college after only one semester. He was often sleeping on the floor in friends' rooms, returning Coke bottles for food money, and getting weekly free meals at the local Hare Krishna temple. Yet God would have looked at him and said, “you innovative billionaire.”
I remember in high school, sitting in the office of my guidance counselor, when she looked at me and said, “At most you will be able to go to a community college. Maybe you should just learn a trade.” I am so glad I didn’t believe that lie and now, by God’s grace, I have my 2nd masters degree. You’ve got to get God’s perspective!
The Israelites have been oppressed by Midian for 7 years now. The situation had gotten so bad, that the Bible says they were hiding in dens, caves and strongholds in the mountains. In this story we find Gideon, threshing wheat in a winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. I could just see Gideon looking over his shoulder just to make sure nobody saw what he was doing. Then suddenly he hears a voice. Startled, Gideon looks up to see this Divine Being, who the Bible calls the “Angel of the Lord” standing right in front of him. The words from this Divine Messenger come to Gideon as a complete surprise. First He says, “The Lord is with you…” Now, one might read that and say, “Yeah, that’s right. The Lord will be with him to defeat the Midianites. However, I believe that this verse is telling us something a little bit deeper. The verse says the Lord (as in Jehovah or Yahweh) is with you. As in, He is right there… with Gideon! This then begs the question, “Who is the Angel of the Lord, who is standing there with Gideon?” Well in verse 14 it says, “Then the Lord turned to Him and said…” Then the Lord said to him, “have I not sent you? Then if you also consider Gideon’s reaction to Him in verse 22 “Now Gideon perceived that He was the Angel of the LORD. So Gideon said, “Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face.”
23 Then the LORD said to him, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.” You see a similar appearance of this “Angel of the Lord”, just a few chapters over in Judges 13, when He appears to Samson’s parents in verse 21 When the Angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and his wife, then Manoah knew that He was the Angel of the LORD.
22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God!” Friends, this is none other than the pre-incarnate Christ, come in human form. As He is called in Matthew chapter 2, Emmanuel “God with us.” The same God who in the beginning spoke and worlds were spun into existence has come done tell Gideon that He is with him. And He is not only with Him, but He gives Gideon His divine perspective. He declares this man who looks defeated and in hiding a might man of valor!
You may look defeated. You make look down. You may even be unsure of your purpose in life. But no matter how you see yourself right now, God looks down at you and He says to you I am with you, you mighty man…you mighty woman of valor! You’ve got to get God’s perspective on who He says you are in His Word!