When God asks us to do the impossible.

When God asks us to do the impossible.

Read Judges 6-7

“Go in this your strength and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?”

The story of Gideon is a story of irony, fear, and the improbable. The story begins with Gideon hiding in fear in the winepress, beating out the wheat. At first glance, it seems innocuous, but the winepress was a place of concealment, rather than the normal threshing ground which was located in the open area so the wind would better blow the chaff away. Thus, it is with ironic humor that the angel appears to him and refers to him as a valiant warrior (6:12). His timidness is further revealed by his response, for at the announcement of the angel, he launches into a diatribe regarding God’s apparent abandonment of Israel. After the Lord calls upon him to serve as a judge and deliver Israel, Gideon responds that he is unfit for the task. Even when God gives him a clear promise that he need not be afraid, for God will protect him (6:23), still Gideon was hesitant. When Gideon sets out a fleece, it was not an act of faith, but of doubt. Gideon was not so much looking for confirmation of his call as he was looking for a way out. Gideon was anything but a “valiant warrior.” However, what Gideon did not realize is that when God empowers a person, even a timid, fear gripped warrior becomes valiant.

Once Gideon realizes there was no escape to his calling, he musters the tribes of Manasseh, Naphtali, and Asher to join him. In response, 32,000 men answered the call. As large of an army as that was, it still insignificant compared to the 135,000 men that composed the armies that they would fight against (see 8:10). Then God does the improbably to place Gideon in an impossible situation. After the 32,000 men arrive, God, through a series of steps, pares the army down to only 300 men. Now, outnumbered 450 to 1, the odds were stacked against the Israelites. But God was not finished, after reducing the men to 300, he then tells them to arm themselves with trumpets, clay pitchers, and torches. God chooses the unlikely and in three steps moves from the improbable to the ridiculous, to the outright impossible. Yet with God, the impossible becomes the attainable. Outnumbered 450 to 1, armed with only clay pots and trumpets, the men of Israel achieved the miraculous. All this was done to show Gideon, and the people of Israel, that the victory does not come from our own abilities, but God’s empowerment.

When God interrupts our plans, there are times when he calls us to do what seems improbable, if not impossible. God, at times, interrupts our lives to challenge our self-sufficiency and self-reliance. He confronts us with tasks and situations where we are forced to rely upon him. We live in the realm of the physical and natural, but God calls us to live in the realm of the spiritual and supernatural in order to teach us to “set our mind on things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:1-2). When we are confronted with circumstances, tasks, and opportunities that seem overwhelming, challenging us with our frailties and shortcomings, then we know that God has interrupted our lives to give us a new vision of who he is and what he can do. Are you facing a situation in your life today that seems impossible, then ask God to give you a new focus upon him and open your eyes to his activity. What seems impossible to us becomes possible to God.

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