Focal Passage: Judges 6:11-24
Fear is paralyzing. Who can forget the color-coded threat
system that was put in place following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001?
The five levels of the system were green for low, blue for guarded, yellow for
elevated, orange for high and red for severe. The colors were intended to
identify a risk of a terrorist attack. However, the recently replaced system
taught many Americans to be scared, not prepared.
The Book of Judges tells the story of Israel
during a similar time of widespread fear. The raiding parties of the Midianites
devastated the people by taking their food and leaving them in poverty. For
that reason, the angel of the Lord found Gideon at the bottom of the wine
press, a pit, threshing his wheat in an attempt to go unnoticed by the Midianites.
Imagine Gideon’s surprise when the angel greeted him with
these words: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior” (v. 12). Gideon was no
mighty warrior and he knew it. If anything, he probably felt like a coward.
Gideon asked the angel, “if the Lord is with us why has all
this happened to us (v. 13)?”
Gideon then thought of the Exodus and how God had favored
the people through the plagues, parting of the Red Sea,
the cloud by day and fire by night, water from rocks, manna and quail, and
their eventual arrival in the Promised Land. But now, as he saw the oppression,
poverty and fear of the people, he couldn’t help but wonder if the Lord was
with the nation.
Gideon’s second question was, “how can I save Israel
(v. 15)?” Gideon was from the tribe of Manasseh. It was the smallest and
weakest of all the tribes. He saw his life as small, his resources limited,
inadequate for the job.
Many congregations begin a new church year today. Some
members feel inadequate and wonder about their place in God’s plans. Like
Gideon, they feel as if they are least in the family (v. 15). They doubt if God
could use them in His plans.
The answer to all of Gideon’s questions, and ours, is in
verse 12, “The Lord is with you.” Whatever the task, the mission, the ministry
the Lord is all anyone needs.
How could Gideon become a mighty warrior? Simply, by
following the Lord and obeying His commands. Nothing has changed. Are you the
next mighty warrior? Are you ready for the Lord to use you for His purpose and
(EDITOR’S NOTE — In the Sept. 17 print issue of the Biblical
Recorder you will see the Oct. 2 lesson for Explore the Bible, a curriculum
published by LifeWay. This issue will have the last lesson from Formations, a
curriculum printed by Smyth & Helwys Publishing. This lesson will be dated
for Sept. 25. Most likely the Sept. 25 Formations lesson will be updated online
Sept. 12. The first Explore the Bible lesson for October will be posted online
that same week.)