This past Sunday we had the privilege of hearing our resident evangelist, Michael Hawkins, preach a wonderful sermon, as he expounded on the familiar story of Gideon found in the 6th and 7th chapters of the Book of Judges. Michael established the premise of his message from the fundamentals of interpreting Scripture given to us by the prophet Isaiah. First he laid the foundation of the story, that being “line upon line.” He then progressed to “precept upon precept”, the meaning of the story. Then the fulfillment of that meaning, “here a little, there a little”, was beautifully expressed through the revelation of Christ and how that pertains to our relationship with Him, as realized in our ministry to others.
Scripture initially portrays Gideon (a feller of trees) as a man with a poor self-image, oppressed by both internal and external enemies. God intentionally chooses the weak and abased things of this world so that His glory can be revealed, not only through them, but “as” them. The Lord finds Gideon consumed by his own inadequacies and speaks his destiny into existence, “calling those things which be not as though they were.” (Rom. 4:17)
Micheal, through defining the words in Judges 6:11, gave us insight into this wonderful revelation of how God not only expresses Himself in our circumstances, but also fulfills His will through them. Paraphrasing that verse, an angel of the Lord visits Gideon who is at the wine press, a place of self-incrimination, where he is basically beating himself up. The Lord sits under an oak tree (significant of strength), which is in Ophrah, a place of dust and ash which is representative of our flesh. Joash, Gideon’s father, whose name means God fired, is an Abiezrite which can be interpreted as father of help or a surrounding of help. God likewise comes to us through the dust of our humanity and in spite of the lies we believe about ourselves, proclaims the Truth. In v. 12 the Lord refers to Gideon as “a mighty man of valor” and in vs. 14 the Lord tells him to “go in this thy might” and deliver His people. God called Gideon what he is (now) and yet what he was to progressively become (future), thus exalting the abased through their own weaknesses.
As the story continues to unfold Gideon gradually comes to the awareness that he is actually experiencing an epiphany and honors the Lord in worship through offering a sacrifice (vs. 17-24). Likewise, we are to bring who we are (flesh), what we know (bread), and the essence of what comprises our souls (broth) and pour ourselves out on the rock which is Christ. In your humanity, empty yourself of all that you are and the fire of God (His Spirit) will consume it. Gideon then brings a second sacrifice (vs. 25-32) one that is to be offered by fire. The wood for this offering consisted of the wooden idols, the gods images, Israel was vainly worshiping. Likewise, the Lord wants us to build an altar unto Him and relinquish any areas of our souls we have yet to surrender; our hidden agendas, destructive thoughts and latent fears. He wants to have a relationship with our humanity; it’s our sin that is reprehensible to Him.
As Gideon’s understanding of who God is continues to unfold, so does his understanding of who he is. In vs. 34 Samuel writes that “The Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon”. The Lord put Gideon on like a coat; or the Spirit of the Lord was clothed with the humanity of Gideon. The revelation the Holy Spirit gave to Michael was that it is a fearful thing to think that our actions have now become the actions of the Christ, but in reality they have. It’s up to us whether that representation reflects the Word of God or not.
The beauty of this transformation process is that God fills all the broken places of our humanity with Himself and we, through ministry, in turn pour that essence into the broken lives of others, thus delivering them from their enemies. This is succinctly played out in Judges Chapter 7. As Gideon’s army of 300 converged on the host of Midian he shouts “the sword of the Lord and Gideon.” (Judges 7:18) The two have now become one. We, like Gideon, can come to the place in our relationship with God that our word, who we are in our humanity, becomes the word, or sword, of the Lord. Like Christ, wielding the two edged sword from His mouth, people are set free by the words of our mouth. The limitless God has put all of His limitations inside of us. Once we surrender, or exchange, our will for His, the limitless One can expand His presence into all of our limitations. Allow the Lord to express Himself “as” the uniqueness of your humanity. Just be what you be. Paul stated this another way in Acts 17:28 “For in Him we live and move and have our being. ”