I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Jehovah Shalom tells Gideon through the visitation of an angel that Gideon is a mighty warrior. Gideon is stunned and explains to the angel that his clan is the weakest in Manasseh and that he is the least in his family.
The angel of the Lord reveals the key to the peace God gives us when we are faced with difficult circumstances: he tells Gideon to go in the strength that he has because God is with him. Gideon made all sorts of excuses when the angel told him that God wanted him to deliver the Israelites out of the hands of the Midianites: But Lord, Gideon asked, how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family. (Judges 6:15)
Moses was also full of excuses when God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. He asked God who would go with him; he told God that he wasn’t an eloquent speaker and that he couldn’t talk to Pharaoh; he told the Lord that he didn’t even know God’s name! Moses was a basket case!
How like Moses and Gideon we are! God calls us to do something and we are full of excuses! It’s not that we don’t want to obey, but we simply fear our inadequacy to do it. Paul understood the problem. He had been a powerful man – a Pharisee – respected by Israelites until he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. He was ruined forever. Jesus blinded his eyes and Paul groped his way back home. I imagine losing your eyesight gives one a vastly different perspective on life. He was on top of the world one moment and at the bottom of the cave the next…in darkness. I imagine that during that time before Jesus sent Ananias to open his eyes, Paul had time to think about this man Jesus, the one he had been persecuting.
Sometimes it takes “cave” times to recognize our weaknesses and utter dependency on God. We can be so self secure and independent that we do not see the need for God. Maybe we keep God at a distance so that when we do need Him we can call on Him, but most days we are fine without Him.
It often takes a crisis for us to recognize our need. Paul figured it out. We know that he recognized his need for God when he wrote to the Philippians and said that he could do everything only through God’s strength. What a long way he had come from the self-sufficient days on the road to Damascus!
Do you recognize daily your need for God, or does it take a crisis for you to turn to Him? He is calling you today to depend on Him daily and acknowledge that apart from Him you can do nothing. When we acknowledge our weaknesses, He makes us strong. (II Corinthians 12:9)
Forgive me for turning to You only in times of distress. Help me to recognize that I can do all things only in Your strength.
In Jesus’ name, Amen