“Go with the strength you have
and rescue Israel from the Midianites.
I am sending you.”
Judges 6:12 nlt
So many times in my life, I have considered the experience I was going through as preparation for the “real deal” that I would someday discover. It’s kind of like I was always asking myself what do I want to be when I grow up? I have invested in many different types of schooling, countless hours of soul-searching and spoken with God in hundreds of confused prayers. Meanwhile, whatever was currently my role in life got treated like a placeholder for this mysterious “real deal.”
Then one day I asked myself what would happen if I treated all those placeholders as the real deal. What if I played with the hand I was dealt rather than thinking of it as a practice round? What would that look like and what kinds of different results would I see?
This past week I started reading Judges. In the book of Judges, God raised up leaders, called Judges, to save the Israelites after each time they get themselves in trouble. These Judges weren’t like Superman or Batman. They were like me – kind of awkward.
- One of them was a man named Ehud, who was left-handed. According to my Bible notes, being left-handed was actually considered a handicap in that time.
- Another Judge was a woman (Deborah), which was an astonishing thing to occur back then, especially when you look at the restrictions women still have in our society today.
- Gideon, a mere farmer, was addressed by the angel of the Lord as “mighty hero” but proceeded to question his calling no less than four times before he believed that God could actually use him! (He went on to defeat the Midianites using only 300 warriors.)
These highly favored men and women of God seemed to have one thing in common. They were faithful with what they had already been given. Ehud wasn’t just sitting around cursing his left-handed life. Deborah was a prophet already doing God’s work in her day-to-day life. Gideon was fighting the oppression of the Midianites and saving his community by hiding his grain production in a winepress (a pit). They were all faithful with the life God had already blessed them with. They were dedicated to working hard at the responsibilities put before them in their life rather than passing the buck or trying to climb the ladder. They showed their faithfulness by treating the “little things” like they were the big things, and God entrusted them with REAL BIG THINGS.
Then the LORD turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” “But LORD,” Gideon replied, “how can I rescue Israel? My clan is the weakest in the whole tribe of Manasseh, and I am the least in my entire family!” The LORD said to him, “I will be with you. And you will destroy the Midianites as if you were fighting against one man.” (Judges 6:14-16 nlt)
Go with the strength you have. The strength you gained from overcoming affliction, difficulty and handicaps. The strength you use every day to do the work you are called to do TODAY. Go with the strength of courage in the face of questions and fears. Today IS the big deal because today is the strength I have. Everything else that I will ever need comes in that last verse: I will be with you. God is my “tomorrow.” He will be with me, and because of THAT, I will be able to conquer anything as easy as if I were buttering toast. He is the REAL DEAL.
Challenge: Every day, before I get out of bed, I will remind myself that today is the real deal. Today is the day the Lord made – I will live it in the strength I have and leave the rest up to God.