«And the Lord said to him, ‘Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man’ «. Judges 6:16
IN JUDGES 6, we find one of the saddest chapters in Israel’s history. After having been delivered from Egyptian slavery, God’s people were now being oppressed at «the hand of Midian.» Such was the oppression that the Israelites had to abandon their lands and go live in «the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains» (Judges 6:2). Whenever Israel planted something, the Midianites would come in «as numerous as locusts» (verse 5) and devastate the earth, leaving nothing for the Israelites to eat. «So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord» (verse 6).
Their cry reached the Lord, and He decided to deliver Israel. To do that, He personally met with Gideon while he was threshing wheat. He told Gideon, «The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor! . . . Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?» (verses 12-14). And Gideon replied, «O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house» (verse 15).
God called a man who felt small to perform a great work. Gideon came from a half tribe, because that’s what Manasseh was; and from that half tribe, Gideon’s family was one of the poorest; and from that poor family, Gideon was the youngest. Saul, Moses, and Jeremiah had replied in a similar way. The reason for that is that «God does not always choose for His work men of the greatest talents, but He selects those whom He can best use.»*
All those who want to be used by God are given the same promise He gave Gideon: «Surely I will be with you» (verse 16). The man others viewed as a «lumberjack» or a «stone mason,» was viewed by the Lord as a «warrior» (in Hebrew, «Gideon» means any of those three things: «lumberjack,» «stone mason,» «warrior»). God’s presence turned a nameless worker into the liberator of His people.
Like Gideon, you are waging your own battle; and like He did with Gideon, God also assures you He will be with you.