Not By Our Strength Alone

May 20, 2000
by Alex Bisset

Judges 6:14-16 – Then the Lord turned to [Gideon] and said, "Go in this might of yours and deliver Israel from the hand of Midian; I hereby commission you." He responded, "But sir, how can I deliver Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family." The Lord said to him, "But I will be with you." (NRSV)

Gideon was aware of his own limitations. When God told Gideon that he had chosen him to deliver Israel from the Midianites, Gideon was surprised. "But God," said Gideon, "how can I do this for you? I am the least of my family, and my branch of the family is neither large nor significant. How can I be the one you have chosen for this tremendous job?"

But God already knew all about Gideon's limitations. God did not choose Gideon because he was a mighty fighter, or because he commanded a huge army. Gideon was not chosen for his tactical skill or his range of weapons. God told Gideon that he would be able to do what God asked, because God would be with him. Gideon was not in this alone; he had God at his side. And Gideon went out, did what God called him to do and followed God's instructions, and Gideon was successful in driving out the Midianites.

Often in life we hear God calling us, nudging us to do something. "Oh, no," we say. "You must have the wrong person, God. I can't do that. I haven't got those kinds of gifts, or the time, or the strength. I'm not the right person for this job. There are others who could accomplish this far better than I could. Choose someone else."

But God's call does not rely on our strengths alone. When God gives us a task, God will help us to accomplish it. Just as God was with Gideon, God will be with us, too. We need not fear the tasks that lie ahead, because it is not up to us to tackle them alone. We must never forget that God is at our side, and it is not our strength, but God's strength, that will get the job done.

Prayer: God, you call us to do many things. Help us to listen and answer when your call comes. Remind us that it is not up to us alone to do what you ask of us, but that you will be with us to help and support us. Amen.

About the author:

Alex Bisset <wabisset@rogers.com>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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