Pastor's Notes

When God Strengthened You

Gideon’s victory against the Midianites is virtually known by everyone. Its story has been immortalized through songs, cartoons, devotionals, and sermons. Gideon, who formerly destroy family idols at the cover of the night, now goes out blazing in glory from one victory to the next. His success story seems to echo Disneyan fairy tale, but with one major different, Gideon is no Disney character. He is no perfect knight in shiny armor that repelled the invaders away. As soon as he reaches his success, Gideon’s armor of righteousness started to crack.

When he just got started, Gideon continually asked God for directions and signs. He is unsure of his actions and haunted by doubt and insecurity. Yet as the battle about to start, he ordered the 300 to shout, “For the LORD and for Gideon.” Did you see that small addendum? It seems giving glory to God is not enough without taking small credit for himself!

As the Midianites were pushed back and the Israelites pursued, Gideon started to be more aggressive. When the city of Sukkoth and Peniel refused to provide assistance and support, Gideon delivered his own brand of justice by whipping the seventy-seven elders of Sukkoth with desert thorns and wreaked havocs on Pniel by destroying their tower and killing their men (Judg. 8:14-17). Gideon did all of that, without consulting the Lord nor asking for any specific signs from Him. In fact, after his victory in Judges 7, he never once converses with God anymore! That close relationship that he used to have evaporated to nothingness. Gideon learned to take the reins of control instead of depending on God and became less submissive to the divine will.

Obscurity always leads to obedience, while fame has the power to corrupt even the strongest. You see, when we are nothing, it is easy to give God the reins of life; but as success accumulates gradually, each of us tends to gravitate away from God. Gideon’s downfall did not start as he took initiative in punishing Pniel and Sukkoth. It all began as he took that small credit for the victory against the Midianite army.

The question is, where are you now? Are you still living in obscurity, longing to hear God’s will? Or are you riding on the waves of victories and success in life? Wherever you are, whatever you do, let God’s name be glorified.

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