The Deception Of Power

Gideon and his three hundred men. Judges 7:9-23

Gideon and his three hundred men. Judges 7:9-23

In the book of Judges, Samson is a natural. A boy whose birth was supernaturally announced to a barren couple, set apart to God from the womb, and gifted with incredible strength.

Gideon, on the other hand, was pretty much the opposite. The youngest of his family, a member of a split tribe that wasn’t particularly influential, and questioning where the God of all the old stories was.

If I was choosing a judge, a liberator of a nation, I’d pick Samson. God picked both men, and as it turned out, Samson was the disappointment. He did more to liberate his people by his death than he had in his life. Everything he did with his strength while alive was for his own revenge.

Gideon, on the other hand, had no strength, except perhaps the power of persuasion. When he called for men to join his army, they came in the thousands. Interestingly, God didn’t use that one strength Gideon had to offer. Instead, He told His chosen leader to send most of the recruits home.

And with a small force outnumbered 1000 to 1 or more, Gideon routed the enemy. Well, God routed the enemy.

When Samson fought the Philistines and defeated them, Scripture says the Spirit of the Lord came upon him. As a man, Samson may have looked impressive, but God was the source of his strength just as He was Gideon’s.

On the flip side, the Midianites Gideon fought had chariots and huge numbers and allies. They looked invincible. But they were up against the living God, and they were no match for Him.

Because God’s ways are not our ways, He delights in using the weak and the simple and the broken and the wounded and the poor and the humble. When He does, there’s no question where the glory lies.

Samson was blind and broken when God used him most. Gideon’s army was seriously outnumbered when God used them to defeat the enemy.

Oddly, even knowing what we know because of God’s word, the majority of us, if given the choice, would align ourselves with the greater army equipped with the best weapons, positioned in the best place, in charge, on top, in control.

We understand with our heads that God is all powerful, but we’re more apt to rely on our bank account or credit rating or home security system or any of the other stuff we surround ourselves with to make us safe and secure.

When we trust in our own ways, I think it’s a bit like Samson after he broke his Nazarite vow and God’s Spirit was no longer with him–he still jumped up to take on the enemy, but that time, in his own strength. And it wasn’t enough.

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Published in: on October 24, 2013 at 7:25 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 Comments

  1. The contrast you have drawn is quite instructive. I think it is fascinating to see how God has used all kinds of people (often despite their efforts) to accomplish His work.

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    • Thanks for your feedback, Sean. I’d never thought about Samson and Gideon in comparison before. Sometimes I tend to think of the people in the Bible as isolated from one another, but now I’m realizing that seeing them in relation to one another actually gives a better picture of what God is doing. And yes, God uses all kinds of people. Praise His name for that!

      Becky

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