The Call of Gideon

·         The reinforce in our minds this absolutely essential truth of God’s sufficiency, let’s consider another man at the point of his call from God.  Remember the great battles that we waged and won by Gideon?  With a handful of men he “turned to fight the armies and the aliens.”  Was he always like that?  Bold, courageous, waxing valiant in a fight?


The Children of Israel were suffering under the hand of the Midianites.  They were hiding in dens and caves in the mountains.  The Midianites destroyed their crops and confiscated their livestock.  These enemies, like a plague of grasshoppers, consumed everything as they moved across the land.  The reason for Israel’s dilemma was, of course, their sin.  “Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years He gave them into the hands of the Midianites” (Judges 6:1).

One night Gideon was threshing a little wheat to his it from the Midianites.  The angel of the Lord appeared and called upon him to be the instrument to deliver God’s people out of the hand of the Midianites.

Gideon’s first response was quite familiar to God by this time.  “But Lord…how can I save Israel?  My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (v.15).

Again, God went to the heart of the matter with His chosen man for the job.  “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together” (v.16).

Notice the similarity to what God told Moses at the burning bush. In effect, God said, “Gideon, it doesn’t matter that your family is poor in Manasseh, or that you are least in your father’s house. The point is not who you are, but that I will be with you.  It is not your weaknesses that we must dwell on, but My strength.  I will work through you.”

So, if God calls you to a task and you have an overpowering sense of weakness and need and inadequacy – rejoice!  You’re in good company.  People of God down through the centuries have felt the same way. But they have also believed God to be sufficient for the task to which He has called them.

The Call of Jeremiah

·         There is one more person we must look at to round out this matter.  Jeremiah was one of the greatest prophets of God.  He was faithful to God’s call and suffered for that faithfulness.  But how did the call come? And how did Jeremiah respond when God spoke to him about assuming a position of leadership in His kingdom? Look at the record: “The word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart:  I appointed you as a prophet to the nations’” (Jeremiah 1:4-5).

·         The basic job of a prophet was to proclaim the Word of God to the people of God.  How did Jeremiah respond to this challenge?  Did he immediately rise to the occasion with faith and enthusiasm?  No, his response was similar to those of Moses and Gideon:  “‘Ah, Sovereign Lord,’ I said, ‘I do not know how to speak; I am only a child’” (v.6).  His initial reaction was one of inadequacy.  He didn’t feel equal to the task.

Here’s God’s answer to that:  “But the Lord said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am only a child.”  You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.  Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord” (vv. 7-8).  Notice the promise of God:  “I am with you.”  Again, the point is that God is there.  The all-wise, all-powerful, all-sufficient God will be by his side.  In every case, this is the thing God keeps saying.

In the case of Jeremiah, God did not promise him a rose garden, but the assurance of His presence and protection and guidance was given time and again:  “’They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,’ declares the Lord” (v.19).

Other Calls – Then and Now

·         Do you recall the last orders of the Lord Jesus Christ to His followers?  “Go and make disciples of all nations.”  Accompanying that charge to them was the promise, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:19-20).  God is still giving us the same basis for serving Him with confidence that He gave to old-time heroes of the faith:  I am with you.

·         We may always want to take the course of least resistance.  Many of us shy away from something that may be difficult or require a real leap of faith.  We must not move through life taking the course of least resistance.  The experiences are good for us, hard but valuable down through the years.

Another thing the devil may use to prevent us from stepping out by faith is response to the call of God is something undesirable in our background.  We may feel this disadvantage is too much to overcome or that it will be a hindrance to the work.  Again, the Scriptures remind us of the fallacy of this argument.

The Apostle Paul, you recall, was a murderer who had spent a great deal of time and energy persecuting the church of God.  He later confessed with shame:  “These men know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in You.  And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him” (Acts 22:19-20).

Paul said to himself, “I am the least of the apostle and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Corinthians 15:9).  But he also wrote, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service.  Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:12-13).

If ever a man had a background that would render him unusable to God, it was Paul.  Yet he became the great apostle to the Gentiles and was used of God to write much of the New Testament.

Other people with dark blots on their records became great servants of God as well.  I think of John Mark, the man who proved to be an unfaithful servant on a journey with Paul and Barnabas.  When these men planned their next journey, Paul refuse to take Mark alone because of his past failure (see Acts 15:36-38).

Yet this is the man who God chose to write the Gospel of Mark, which presents His own Son as the ever faithful servant.  Mark’s background was certainly not the thing that was the basis for God’s choosing him for the task.

David was chosen by God to be the commander and leader of His people and to be administrative head of the government.  His background was that of a shepherd tending the sheep on the rolling hills of the land of Israel.  But God called him and he followed.  His background, or lack of it, was not an issue.

So when God calls you to a task, let neither a sense of inadequacy or a “poor background” hinder you from following His lead.  “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).