Grace and Gideon
- Emily Day
The book of Judges should have trigger warnings on it. I’m serious. My first draft at this blog started by coarsely retelling some of the most raw and distressing stories from Judges, but I honestly felt uncomfortable with it. Let’s just say, Judges is rated R and not for the faint of heart.
This is where I am so thankful for the method we use in SBS. It takes time, but after a few reads of difficult books like Judges, the evidence of God’s grace begins to saturate every corner of every story, and I just stand in awe of the God I serve, in awe of His patience, in awe of His grace.
God is so gracious to allow us, as flawed humans, to participate in his plans.
Gideon is a prime example of this theme I noticed through the book of Judges. When God first encountered Gideon, He called Gideon a mighty warrior. Gideon was far believing he was a mighty warrior — but that’s what God called him. Gideon needed to be graciously nudged into taking that identity on, but it didn’t stop God from referring to Gideon how He saw him. I love that God knew Gideon’s heart, and He used Gideon anyway.
Gideon asked for so many signs that God was truly going to use him to deliver the Israelites from their oppressors. I was fed up with him by the end of it! But God wasn’t. God didn’t rebuke Gideon for asking for signs. In fact, I honestly laughed when I read how God dealt with Gideon right before the battle.
If I can be so bold as to paraphrase the Lord, he said: “Alright Gideon, it’s game time. I’ve shown you a ton of signs, you can totally take these guys! I’m with you, I’m going to hand them over to you. Seriously man, you’ve got this. But, if you really need some extra encouragement, you can sneak down to their camp and hear what they’re saying.”
WHOOSH. That’s the sound of Gideon high tailing it down to the camp to get just one more sign before battle. I can just imagine God smirking and rolling His eyes — you know, in the amused way only a loving Father could.
As I read, I was sitting there judging Gideon, thinking, “Seriously dude! You have the God of the universe encouraging you about the future, about your identity, and you need to hear it from the mouth of humans to be reassured?! How pitiful!” And in the middle of my mental rant, God stopped me and asked if Gideon reminded me of anyone.
Oh. Yeah. That’s me, isn’t it, Lord?
Once I started relating to Gideon, I could see so much more of God’s grace to us, and relate it to my own walk with God. Gideon was so painfully human, so painfully like all of us — waiting on God for signs, needing human affirmation, and being reluctant to walk out boldly in the identity God has given us. But God loves to refer to us how he sees us, even if we are far from believing it.
Mighty warrior. Kind, lovely daughter. Treasured, valuable son.
Whatever it is we don’t believe about ourselves, God is calling out to us, inviting us to trust Him as we walk into the identity he has set before us.
I’ve realized that God loves to ask flawed humans to participate in His perfect plans even if it sometimes look messy on the outside. God is more concerned about what is happening to the inside of us when we say yes to His plans. Do we become more like the mighty warrior? The sweet-natured daughter? The treasured son?
God’s purpose in asking us to participate in His plans is so that we can walk into the identity He has given us. He doesn’t care if it’s messy, or if they plans don’t work out the way we thought they should. If through our attempts to partner with God in His plans we take on the identity He has given us, I promise you, that’s a huge win in God’s eyes.
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