The angel of the LORD came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”
The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”
The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” Judges 6:11-16
Have you ever heard of “self-actualization”? Self-actualization is all about finding out what your potential is and realizing that potential by being/becoming “all you can be.” According to Abraham Maslow it is the highest level of psychological development…when basic physical and psychological needs have been met.
In the situation with Gideon we might describe what could be called “God-actualization”. Gideon sees himself as an “insignificant nobody who isn’t going to amount to anything”. He feels completely helpless and hopeless for help from the LORD Who from his perspective, has abandoned his people.
That’s not what God sees! God sees him as a “mighty warrior” whom He will be using to rescue His people from the hands of the enemies (the Midianites). Notice what he is told, “Go in the strength you have…” (vs. 14) The LORD Who had made him knows he has the strength to “pull off” what will be an amazing feat-defeating the massive Midianite army with only 300 men!
The world invites you and me to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps”-through self-actualization. As Christians we have come to understand through the Gospel that it really is about “God-actualization”. What God has done by actually becoming a man in order to do what we could never do on our own is ultimately what saves us.
God raised up another even greater Hero Who would be judged and condemned and seemingly defeated by the enemy in a “sneak attack” on death itself. After standing under God’s righteous judgment and being punished in our place Jesus would stand triumphant as a conquering hero over the grave. We will come to fully realize this when we die and join our God forever in heaven.
Our great and gracious God Who saved us continues to work through us now and to bless us with gifts and abilities which we can actually use to serve Him and others He has placed into our lives. Go with confidence-the LORD is with you, mighty warrior!
Lord, I know you have a plan for my life. Help me to be patient as I come to realize your plan and the direction you would have me take. Bless me to follow your will with trust and faith which You provide through your Word. In Jesus’ saving name I pray this. Amen.